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" You my house when you do take the prop 
That doth sustain my house; you take my life 
When you do take the means whereby I live." 

— Shakespeare. 

'The enemy comes on in gallant show; 

Their bloody sign of battle is hung out, 
And something to be done immediately." 

—Exclamation of the Messenger to Octavius 
and Anthony on Uie Plains of PMUippi. 








I. Th3 Senate 9 

II. The Speaker of the House 49 

III. Supreme Court 67 

IV. Improvident Disposal of Public Lands 130 

V. Finance in War and Peace 184 

VI. Evolution In Crime, or Improved Methods of Piracy. 226 

VII. A Comparison— Rome, Britain, and the United States 269 

VIII. The Silver Problem 297 

IX. National Debts 333 

X. Finance and Ownership of Land 345 

XT. The Gerry-Mander, w\th original Caricature 353 

XII. Dives and Lazarus— Contrasts 362 

XIII. The Pinkertons 379 

XIV. Trusts 387 

XV. National Banks 395 

XVI. Transportation Problem. 409 

XVII. The Sub-Treasury 424 

XVIII. Remedies Considered 432 

XIX. The Great Uprising— Its Interpretation— The Country's call to 

Action 438 

XX. Danger and Duty 441 


The author's object in publishing this book is to call at- 
tention to some of the more serious evils which now disturb 
the repose of American society and threaten the overthrow 
of free institutions. 

We are nearing a serious crisis. If the present strained 
relations between wealth owners and wealth producers con- 
tinue much longer they will ripen into frightful disaster. 
This universal discontent must be quickly interpreted and 
its causes removed. It is the country's imperative Call to 
Action, and can not be longer disregarded with impunity. 

The sovereign right to regulate commerce among our 
magnificent union of States, and to control the instruments 
of commerce, the right to issue the currency and to deter- 
mine the money supply for sixty-three million people and 
their posterity, have been leased to associated speculators. 
The brightest lights of the legal profession have been 
lured from their honorable relation to the people in the 
administration of justice, and through evolution in crime 
the corporation has taken the place of the pirate; and finally 
a bold and aggressive plutocracy has usurped the Govern- 
ment and is using it as a policeman to enforce its insolent 
decrees. It has filled the Senate with its adherents, it con- 
trols the popular branch of the National Legislature by 
cunningly filling the Speaker's chair with its representa- 
tives, and it has not hesitated to tamper with our Court of 
last resort. The public domain has been squandered, our 
coal fields bartered away, our forests denuded, our people 
impoverished, and we are attempting to build a prosperous 


commonwealth among people who are being robbed of 
their homes — a task as futile and impossible as it would be 
to attempt to cultivate a thrifty forest without soil to sustain 
it. The corporation has been placed above the individual 
and an armed body of cruel mercenaries permitted, in times 
of public peril, to discharge police duties which clearly be- 
long to the State. Wall Street has become the Western 
extension of Threadneedle and Lombard streets, and the 
wealthy classes of England and America have been brought 
into touch. They are no longer twain, but one, and have 
restored to Great Britain all the dominion she desires over 
her long lost colonies. We have in late years become an 
important prop to the British throne and the hope of her 
dominant classes. We are careful not to act in monetary 
affairs without her consent; and if not in monetary affairs, 
then in none other, for money has become the Alpha and 
Omega of modern life. 

The aristocratic classes in the old country constantly 
point their turbulent starving masses to the United States, 
in proof that republics afford no refuge or hope to the 
oppressed millions of mankind. 

But the present stupendous uprising among the industrial 
people of the new world confounds them. It is the second 
revolt of the colonies. It required seven years for our 
fathers to overthrow the outward manifestations of tyranny 
in colonial days. But our weapons now are not carnal, 
but mighty to the pulling down of strongholds. Their 
children can vanquish the American and British plutocracy 
combined in a single day — at the ballot-box. They have 
resolved to do it. If this book can in the least aid in the 
mighty work, we shall be content. 

The few haughty millionaires who are gathering up the 
riches of the new world, make use of certain instruments 
to accomplish their selfish purposes. The Deoole are 


beginning to understand what these instrumentalities arc. 
and are preparing to resist their destructive force. The 
purpose of this book is to make clear the great work which 
lies before us. It must be thorough and complete in order 
to be permanent. The magnitude of our task will appear 
as we advance in the struggle. 

We have made no attack upon individuals, but have con- 
fined our criticisms to evil systems and baleful legislation. 
We have endeavored to be accurate, but claim no literary 
merit for our effort. We submit the work to the criticism 
of our co-temporaries and the candid consideration of 
patriotic people. 

The Adthok. 





The English Parliament was copied after the Saxon 
National Assemblies. The Gemot, as it was called, con- 
sisted of a single body and was composed of the great and 
powerful supporters and defenders of the King. The 
Magna Charta provided for the addition of a certain num- 
ber of Lords and church dignitaries, to be selected from the 
spiritual hierarchy, such as Arch- bishops, Bishops and 
Abbots. To these theocratic law makers were referred, 
among other important matters, all questions relating to 
taxation. From the remotest period in the history of the 
Saxons it had been the settled policy never to submit to the 
imposition of taxes unless the subject had consented thereto 
either personally or through some authorized representative. 
So scant were the royal revenues at this remote period, as 
compared with the extravagant expenditures, that it was 
with extreme difficulty that the wants of the crown and 
the nobility could be supplied at all; and history shows 
that in nearly every instance the taxes were voted only in 
return for some new concession of liberty to the people. 
During the fitful intervals of peace, wealth accumulated and 
centers of population and commerce multiplied. Naturally 
enough these communities, in course of time, asked for 
representation in the great council. The prince and his 
barons consented— for a price. The purchase was made 
and in this way the great body of the English people, who 
were neither clerical nor noble and who were simply organ- 


ized into "communities," and shires, secured a hearing and 
gradually acquired a foothold among the law makers of the 
realm. With the lapse of time and the increase of popula 
tion and wealth, came the extension of suffrage. "When 
the crown was powerful and the unrepresented people 
weak, the right of representation was sold for so much 
money paid directly into the royal treasur} r . When the 
electors became numerous and had the power of electing 
members of Parliament within their own hands, they in turn 
sold their votes to the highest bidder. Mr. May, in his 
excellent work on the British constitution, informs us that 
up to within a very recent period, it was a common thing 
for candidates for Parliament to visit the locality of their can- 
didacy and with ready cash purchase the votes necessary to 
elect them, and then close the negotiations with an agree- 
ment properly signed and witnessed. But thanks to the 
extension of suffrage, and cognate reforms, England of 
to-day is comparatively free from this abuse. There is 
virtue in the people, and the plague spots of the world 
have often been healed by jostling against the multitude — 
by reaching out and touching the hem of their garments. 

For many years the Commons occupied the same hall 
with the Barons and Lords. As they increased in numbers 
the Lords consented that these plebeian intruders might 
occupy a separate hall. The Commons represented those 
who paid the taxes and fought the battles, and soon after 
the separation into the two houses or halls, they took the 
question of taxes exclusively into their own hands. The 
power of the Commons has increased through all its his- 
tory, while that of the Lords has constantly waned. These 
manifestations of decay on the one hand and of growth on 
the other, are both natural and philosophic. The functions 
of the House are normal and legitimate, while those of the 
Lords are imposed by law and are purely arbitrary and 


artificial. Hence the tendency among enlightened people 
is to cherish the one and reject the other. Mr. Gladstone, 
in a speech delivered at Newcastle, in October of this year, 
favors the utter abolition of the House of Lords. He 
8track a popular chord which was already vibrating in 

The revolt which brought on the American revolution 
was not so much against British institutions as against 
the tyranny of', administration. England, except under 
Cromwell's Commonwealth, had a House of Lords, there- 
fore, it was argued, the young republic must have a similar 
body; the Lords were men of great wealth and represented 
the aristocracy of the realm, therefore our senators should 
be selected because of their holdings in order that they 
might represent the wealth of this country; the Lords were 
not compelled to look to the people for their positions, but 
either inherited them from their ancestors or received them 
at the hands of the sovereign; therefore there should be 
some intervening select body of men in this country who 
should designate and select our Senators. It might be 
safe, they thought, to intrust the commonalty to select their 
State Legislators and national Representatives, but here their 
power must cease. It would be positively dangerous to go 
farther. Alexander Hamilton likened the method decided 
upon to a filter. The State Legislatures were ''filtered" 
through the people. This refined and purified them, of 
course. The Senators, in turn, were to be " filtered " through 
the Legislatures. This removed them, with great prudence, 
far enough from the common herd to enable the wealthy 
classes to repose confidence in them. It was argued that 
this would afford a safe retreat from the excesses of the 
multitude and the follies of democracy. Hence they sev- 
ered the legislative department and relegated the House 
to the vote holders and the Senate to the wealth holders. 


When they reached the Executive, it was, of course, pre- 
posterous to think of electing that officer directly by the 
people. If the upper house of the National Legislature 
was too exalted to admit of popular selection, of course it 
would be shocking to think of electing a President by that 
method. Whoever heard of a British king being chosen 
by the multitude? Did he not wear his crown by divine 
authority? Our President could not hope to derive his 
office from so high a source, and yet it would never do to 
intrust his selection directly to the common people. Who 
so rash as to think of cutting loose from the doctrine oijwe 
divino and deferring to the opinions and wishes of the vulgar 
majority? No, if we were not to have divine selection, it 
were rash to go to the other extreme and adopt direct plebe- 
ian election; and so, with great solemnity, the middle ground 
was taken — that of selection by the Hamiltonian process of 
infiltration. Hence the Electoral College was constructed. 
The Constitution does not contemplate, nor did its founders 
ever dream of great national nominating conventions and 
Presidential campaigns such as are common in our day. 
All that the law requires is for the people in the several 
states to repair to the polls every four years, at the stated 
time, and quietly vote for Presidential Electors, corres- 
ponding in number to the whole number of Senators 
and Representatives in Congress. The persons thus or- 
dained and consecrated in turn select the chief magis- 
trate. So far as the law is concerned it is not necessary 
that a single name shall be designated by anybody in con- 
nection with that high office prior to the day upon which 
the electors cast their votes. Ever}^thing in connection 
with our Presidential elections which is outside of this pre- 
scribed formula is extra-constitutional. The electors may 
select whomsoever they please for President and Vice- 
President, provided they be native-born citizens of the 


United States, thirty-five years of age, and do not both 
reside in the same state. Prior to the year 1824, even the 
Electors were chosen by the State Legislatures instead of by 
the people, the State Legislatures having the power to desig- 
nate the manner of their selection. At present the practice 
is for a few clever manipulators and party managers to 
select their favorite for the Presidential office and designate 
him in National convention. Following this, usually, some- 
times before, the same men select the electors in the state 
conventions. The multitude, having no alternative left, 
may then be safely entrusted with the work of carrying the 
torches, doing the voting and footing the bills. The Sen- 
ators, having been chosen by practically the same process 
of transudation, recognize in the Yice-President the shadow 
of the Executive and their natural presiding officer. This 
brings the Executive and the upper house en rapport, and 
the two combined are at once prepared to resist with lordly 
and platonic firmness all radical innovations threatened by 
the multitude. We call this government by the people. If 
it were not for the label it would never be so recognized. 

The controversy which took place in the Federal Con- 
stitutional Convention concerning the method of choosing 
United States Senators, is a most interesting studj\ Among 
other things to be prominently noticed therein are the con- 
fused and contradictory opinions entertained by the fathers 
relating to this important subject. Some were in favor of 
their appointment for life by the Executive; others wished 
them to be chosen by the House of Representatives; a 
strong minority thought they should be selected by the 
people in the several States; a few were of the opinion that 
they should be chosen from districts composed of more 
than one State, and should be restricted to a very small 
number. Some members of the Convention thought they 
should consist of persons of wealth and influence, and be 


chosen to represent the property rather than the people, 
and be empowered to choose the President and Vice-Presi- 
dent of the United States. 

After protracted dela}' and much discussion, however, 
the present method of selection by the State Legislatures 
was adopted by the vote of ten States, on the 7th day of 
June, 1787, on motion of Mr. Dickinson, of Delaware. 

Mr. Dickinson stated that he had two reasons for his 
motion: "First, because the sense of the States would be 
better collected through their governments, than immedi- 
ately from the people at large; secondly, because he wished 
the Senate to consist of the most distinguished characters, 
distinguished for their rank in life and their weight of prop- 
erty, and bearing as strong a likeness to the British House 
of Lords as possible, and he thought such characters more 
likely to be selected by the State Legislatures, than in any 
other mode." (Madison papers, page 813.) 

The operation of this method of selection during the 
latter half of the century, at least, has fully met the expec- 
tations of its author. That Mr. Dickinson was fervently 
attached to the British monarchy is abundantly shown by 
his repeated eulogiums upon the British Constitution during 
the sessions of the Convention, and by the further fact 
that eleven years prior to the meeting of the Federal Con- 
vention, and while he was a member of the Continental 
Congress, he was the only member of that body who 
declined to sign the Declaration of Independence. 


The first twenty years after the adoption of the Constitu- 
tion were spent in adjusting the machinery of the new 
government. Then came the controvers}' with Great 
Britain which culminated in the war of 1812. Following 
the successful issue of that struggle came the questions of 


re-chartering the United States bank, internal improve- 
ment, the boundary line between the treaty making and 
the legislative power, the troubles growing out of the cele- 
brated Hartford Convention, the compromise measure of 
1820, which established the line of 36-30, nullification in 
South Carolina, the Indian wars, and the Mexican war. 
Then followed a wide-spread slavery agitation which shook 
the country from center to circumference, and which finally 
resulted in civil war. These, and other important ques- 
tions engaged public attention for about seventy years. 
The chief characters who figured from 1789 to 1850 
would have adorned any age. As a rule, the Senate 
was filled with men justly distinguished for their tal- 
ent—not wealth — and whether, as judged by the pres- 
ent generation, they entertained correct or incorrect 
opinions of public policy, they were selected because 
they were known by the whole body of the people to repre- 
sent some idea — some policy — and they retained their 
positions for that reason. This brought together a body of 
strong men and made the Senate the theater of great intel- 
lectual conflicts. A glance at some of the great names 
who made the Senate illustrious during the first half 
century under the constitution, will be of interest. From 
Massachusetts we had John Quincy Adams, Daniel Web- 
ster, Timothy Pickering and Eufus Choate. From Con- 
necticut, Roger Sherman, Oliver Ellsworth and Jonathan 
Trumbull. From New York, Gouveneur Morris, Martin 
Yan Buren, Daniel S. Dickinson, Rufus King, Silas Wright 
and John A. Dix. From New Jersey, William L. Dayton, 
Theodore Frelinghuysen. From Pennsylvania, James 
Buchanan and Simon Cameron. From Delaware, Caesar 
A. Rodney, James Bayard, John M. and Charles Clayton 
and Richard H. Bayard. From Maryland, Charles Car- 
roll, of Carrollton, William Pinkney and Reverdy Johnson. 


From Yirginia, James Monroe, John Randolph and 
Richard Henry Lee. From North Carolina, W. P. Man- 
gum. South Carolina, Charles Pinkney, Robert Young 
Haine and John C. Calhoun. Kentucky, Henry Clay, 
John J. Crittenden, Humphrey Marshall, John Brecken- 
ridge and Phelix Grundy. Ohio, Thomas Corwin, Thomas 
Ewing and "William Allen. Indiana, William Hendricks, 
Edward A. Hannegan and Albert S. "White. Mississippi, 
George Poindexter and Robert J. "Walker. Maine, John 
Chandler and John Ruggles. Missouri, Thomas H. Ben- 
ton. Michigan, Lewis Cass. Florida, David L. Yulee. 
Texas, Sam Houston. Iowa, A. C. Dodge and Geo. "W. 
Jones. Almost every State within the Union was repre- 
sented at this time by statesmen possessing national fame 
and influence. They did not rise above criticism, of 
course. Indeed, they were subject to that infirmity or 
perversity of judgment which caused them to transmit to 
posterity a solemn duty which they should have discharged 
themselves and which, in after years, had to be atoned for 
in blood. 

Some one has well said that if a man would properly esti- 
mate public questions and foresee public crises, he must 
lay aside personal ambition and stubbornly and persistently 
decline official position. The suggestion is full of wisdom. 
"With but few exceptions the official managers of public 
affairs and the law-makers, in periods of public tranquility, 
have been deaf to the wrongs and blind to the signs of the 
times in which they lived. They have generally failed even 
to comprehend the tremendous fact of impending revolu- 
tion when it was just ready to burst upon them in devasta- 
ting fury. The Magna Charta was extorted from a ruler 
who was blind to the march of events; Cromwell became 
Lord Protector of England because of another obdurate 
prince; George III and his ministry understood neither the 


character of the colonists whom they were oppressing nor 
the manifest destiny of the new world. Louis XVI, of 
France, and his ministers, had the} r comprehended the 
march of ideas and the consequences likely to follow their 
own corrupt and oppressive reign and that of their imme- 
diate and profligate predecessors, could easily have averted 
the French Revolution, saved their heads and withheld 
from history the most tragic chapter in the blood-stained 
annals of mankind. But they could not comprehend the 
situation. Neither would they listen to those who did. 
Sins of omission are bad enough and lead to fearful conse- 
quences. But how frightful the result when aggressive 
wrong doing takes the place of duty omitted. Dut}" 
omitted sits idle and waits for calamity to overtake it. The 
aggressive wrong-doer turns round and starts in quest of 
the avenger, meets him half way and hastens the catas- 
trophe. As a rule, men and women in the private walks of 
life — the sufferers — are first to apprehend impending dan- 
ger, and it is their sleepless energies which finally arouse 
the drowsy conscience of the nations. 

The renewal of the anti-slavery controversj 7 , which 
occurred immediately preceding and following the com- 
promise measures of 1850, developed and inducted into 
official life a new group of men, who represented the great 
forces which made up the irrepressible conflict destined to 
burst upon the nation at the end of that decade. Illustri 
ous among these were Seward, of New York, Hamlin and 
Fessenden, of Maine, James Harlan, of Iowa, Hunter and 
Mason, of Virginia, Wade and Chase, of Ohio, Hale, of 
New Hampshire, Sumner and Wilson, of Massachusetts. 
Stephen A. Douglas, of Illinois, Bell, of Tennessee. Crit- 
tenden, of Kentucky, Robert Toombs, of Georgia, and 
Judah P. Benjamin, of Louisiana. 


When hostilities began between the two sections, many 
of the southern Senators withdrew, and within a brief 
period the Senate was re-inforced by Grimes, of Iowa, 
Trumbull, of Illinois, Sherman, of Ohio, Boutwell, Mor- 
rill, Doolittle, and others, all men of distinguished ability. 
But when hostilities were at their heighth the following 
gentlemen were among the most distinguished of the 


Charles Sumner and Henry Wilson, of Massachusetts, 
B. F. Wade and John Sherman, of Ohio, James Harlan 
and James W. Grimes, of Iowa, John P. Hale, of New 
Hampshire, William Pitt Fessenden, of Maine, Lyman 
Trumbull, of Illinois, Lot M. Morrill, of Maine, James R. 
Doolittle, of Wisconsin, and Foote, of Vermont. 

These were all men of extraordinary intellectual strength. 
They passed to their positions through struggles which 
tested their capacity and developed their transcendent 
powers. At the appointed time they sprang into the arena 
like gladiators and challenged the world to intellectual 
combat. There were giants in those daj's. Mr. Douglas 
closed his eyes upon life just as the curtain rose upon the 
great drama. Most of the others filled their places until 
the curtain fell over the last scene and then joined the 
silent majority. A few — Sherman, Morrill, Trumbull and 
Harlan — still survive and are in the enjoyment of robust 
and serene old age. 

Sumner was the diplomat of the group — the scholarly 
evangel of liberty and the flaming tongue of fire; Chase, 
the fiscal manager and stately jurist; Wade, the rugged, 
intellectual athlete; Harlan, the logician, the resistless 
orator, practical iegislator and unerring interpreter of 
international law; Sherman, the adroit financier, while 


Grimes, Trumbull and Doolittle were the great law 
yers of the bod} r . All were thoroughly schooled in 
practical affairs, accomplished legislators and filled their 
places with matchless ability. With but few exceptions 
all of these great characters have passed from the theater 
of action, and a 


the immediate successors of the second, now briefly claims 
our attention. A few of the second are found also in the 
third. Among the most distinguished characters of the 
third group were Roscoe Conkling, Matthew EL Carpenter, 
Oliver P. Morton, John Sherman, George F. Hoar, George 
F. Edmunds, Henry L. Daws, David Davis, John A. Logan, 
William B. Allison, James Beck, James G. Blaine, John 
J. Ingalls, Daniel Vorhees, Preston B. Plumb, Joseph E. 
Brown, L- Q- C. Lamar, Benjamin H. Hill, Thomas F. 
Bayard, John P. Jones, Francis Kernan and Allan G. 
Thurman. Fifteen have disappeared from this group. 
Nine have died and six others are not now in the Senate. 

The Senate of 1861-5 was called upon to legislate amid 
the perils of civil war. To the third group was given the 
task of reconstructing and readjusting civil government 
lifter the conflict was over. If peace hath her victories no 
less renowned than war, it must be that she hath her foes 
and perils also. The courage which can successfully meet 
and foil the tempter is superior to that required in the 
shock of battle. The former besieges the spirit, the latter 
assails only the body. The one is an enchantress and lurea 
us to destruction, while the other is a mailed warrior and 
smites only with the sword. 

It seems strange that the legislators of the war and 
reconstruction periods failed to comprehend that those whc 


drove hard bargains and exacted cruel concessions whec 
the Republic was in peril, were as hostile to the spirit ol 
liberty, though not so brave, as the armed Confederate. 
The motto of the Confederate leader was, "Give us oui 
slaves and a dissevered Union or we will take them bv 
force; " while that of the money shark was, " If you dc 
not give us our price you can perish." The slaveholder 
lost his human chattels and the Confederacy perished. Bui 
the tyranny of capital was not broken by the war. On the 
contrary it was augmented be\^ond measure. The money 
power gained all that the slaveholder lost. It conquered 
the whole country and chained the children of toil, both 
black and white, to its chariot wheels. They threw the 
husk of liberty to the newly emancipated slave and appro- 
priated to themselves the corn. All that liberty gained in 
that struggle was the extension of its nominal area far 
enough to include the black man. Surrounded by the 
perils of battle, the statesman of the war period made con- 
cessions which strengthened the tyranny of capital beyond 
the power of the imagination to conceive. In the days of 
reconstruction our leaders surrendered to it without a 
struggle. The battle for substantial and real emancipation 
has yet to be fought and it is but just ahead. 


The leading members of the United States Senate during 
the war and reconstruction periods are chiefly responsible 
for the unconscionable acts of legislation which have cursed 
the Nation for over a quarter of a century and which, if 
not speedily corrected, are likely to precipitate a tragic 
revolution. This chain of legislation began in the early 
days of the war and was finished during the period of 
reconstruction. The following were enacted during the 
war period: 


First. The exception clause of the Legal Tender act 
which placed a premium on gold for the benefit of gold 
gamblers, and at the same time depreciated the pay of the 
soldier fully one-half and greatly increased public expen 
ditures. It in fact placed the country at the mercy of the 
New York and European speculators and stock jobbers 
during the whole period of the war. The exception clause 
was not in the bill when it passed the House. It waa 
inserted in the Senate. 

Second. The law which authorized the issue of bonds. 
The exigencies of war never called for the issue of a single, 
bond. Those who framed the law simply intended to pro-* 
vide an opportunity for speculators whereby they could dis- 
pose of, at its face value in United States bonds, the paper 
which they had purposely depreciated and afterward pur- 
chased. They procured one law which enabled them to 
purchase Greenbacks at less than their face value, and 
another which empowered them to realize in gold the face 
value of the Greenbacks. They induced Congress to liter- 
ally legislate hundreds of millions of wealth into their 

Third. The National bank act. This act authorizes the 
bond holder to deposit his gold bearing bonds and secure 
from the treasury ninety per cent of his investment, and 
still draw quarterly from the people interest on the whole 
amount, of the bond. It further invested the associated 
banks with -the power which belongs to the Government — 
the power to issue the money of the people and regulate 
its volume. 

Fourth. The Land Grant acts. By these acts the Home- 
stead law was made a nullity and the Public domain given 
away to corporations, syndicates, and foreign nabobs. 

Fifth. The act which surrendered the first mortgage 
lien of the government, on the Pacific railroads, and com- 


pelled the people to pay interest on the money which they 
advanced to construct the roads. These bonds amounted 
to $64,623,512. We have paid on them, in interest, up to 
August, 1891, the sum of $65,350,008.61, and the end is 
not yet. The company now defies the government and 
laughs at the helplessness of the people. 

Sixth. The contraction act of 1866, which authorized 
the destruction of our currency and its conversion into 
interest-bearing, non-circulating, and non-taxable debt. 
Under this act more than one billion of the currency was 
:aken from circulation and destroyed. All these acts were 
passed under the supervision of the war group of Senators. 

The following acts were passed during the reign of the 
third, or reconstruction group: 

The Credit Strengthening act of 1869. 
The act of 1873, demonetizing silver. 
The Kesumption act of 1875. 

The object of the first was to pledge the payment of the 
entire public debt in gold. It looked to changing the con- 
tract in the interest of the grasping public creditor, long 
after the perils of war had passed and after our brave 
soldiers had abundantly strengthened the public credit by 
their valor and blood. The war was over and the bonds 
were selling at a premium at the time the act was passed. 

The second stealthily struck down one-half of our coin 
money, doubled the value of gold and converted the coin 
bonds into gold obligations. 

The third, under the guise of resuming specie payments, 
in fact provided for the utter destruction of our legal 
tender currency and the increase of the bonded debt. The 
calamity was in part averted by subsequent legislation 
which stopped the destruction of the greenback and par- 
tially remonetized silver. Public sentiment came to the 


rescue, but the conspirators yielded with manifest and 
dogged reluctance. 

Various degrees of responsibility attach, of course, to 
the public servants concerned in the passage of these 
accursed laws. Charity, if not absolute regard for truth, 
requires us all to conclude that most of these legislators 
were at the time unadvised concerning the motives of those 
who forced this pitiless legislation upon the- country. The 
majority, perhaps, were as clay in the hands of the potter. 
A few cruel and skillful schemers moulded them at will. 
Honest men had their eyes on the salvation of the Union. 
Bad men took advantage of the situation. It was even sc 
at the very foundation of our government. Our fathers 
were forced, by professed friends of liberty, to make 
choice of evils. Posterity had to atone for it. So, many 
of our legislators, during the periods of war and recon- 
struction, fell short of their duty. A few were willfully 
vicious. We are now suffering the penalty. It is to be 
hoped that the next generation may not have occasion tc 
accuse those who shall legislate amid the tergiversations ol 
the new revolution. 


The slave holding aristocracy, restricted both as to local- 
ity and influence, was destroyed by the war only to be sue 
ceeded by an infinitely more dangerous and powerful aris- 
tocracy of wealth, which now pervades every State and 
aspires to universal dominion. Its first conquest was the 
subjugation of the dominant political party of the nation, 
while it required the other to keep the peace, under the 
threat that if it did not succumb it should never come intc 

Next it secured control of State politics, and finally found 
expression in a vast net work of corporations which have 


seized upon almost every field of labor and every depart 
ment of human effort. Neither the military achievements 
of Caesar, the exploits of Cyrus, Hannibal, Alexander, 
nor the dazzling conquests of Napoleon in the fields of war, 
can compare with the stupendous victories of organized 
capital in this country during the past twenty-five years. 
They have outstripped the imagination, rendered fiction 
dull and uninteresting, and robbed romance of its charms. 
The chief spirits through whose agency all these things 
have been accomplished are not unmindful that they are in 
conflict with both private right and the public welfare. 
They, above all others, know the extent of their wrong 
doing, and they fear reprisals at the hands of the people. 
To prevent remedial legislation they have filled the Senate 
of the United States with men who represent the corpora- 
tions and the various phases of organized greed. The 
ideal Senate, longed for by Mr. Dickinson — a Senate com- 
posed of men of wealth and resembling the British House 
of Lords — has been realized and has long been in full 
operation. The method of selection was found to be pecul- 
iarly well fitted to their scheme. There is one characteris- 
tic common to all wrong doers — they work in the dark and 
conceal their motives. You know nothing of their purpose 
until the stab is inflicted. Like the cat, they walk in quest 
of prey with velvet feet; and like the assassin, they lie in 
wait and spring upon you without warning. The corpora- 
tions never make public their purpose. They hold no pub- 
lic meetings. Their plans are laid in the counting room, 
around the lunch table, and in the secret meetings of their 
directors away from the public. When the plan is matured, 
a skillful agent is employed to carry it out, and a check is 
drawn to cover expenses. The people at large are about 
their daily toil in the field and the workshop. They are 
honest, unsuspecting, patriotic, and devoted to their respec- 


tive parties. The work that is to rob and ruin them is 
being done under cover. The corporations — apparently 
wholly indifferent — having determined whom they wish to 
elect to the United States Senate, the next thing in order is 
to secure the nomination of suitable Legislative candidates — 
men who can be trusted to do their bidding. Secure in 
this, no effort or expense is spared to insure a triumph at 
the polls. Usually the name of the man whom the}'" intend 
to elect to the Senate is kept in the background. The can- 
vass is made wholly with reference to other issues. But as 
soon as the election is over, a venal subsidized press which 
has been party to the concealment during the campaign, 
suddenly throws off the mask and discovers that the sena- 
torial question is all important and you then hear of noth- 
ing else. They suddenly discover that Mr. A or B is just 
the right man for the position, and the one above all others 
whom the party and the State should delight to honor. At 
the proper time headquarters are opened at the State Capi- 
tal, and a lavish expenditure of money begins, while the 
people look on with amazement and wonder where the 
money comes from. The local manipulators, many of 
whom were parties to the conspiracy from the beginning, 
are sent for and kept upon the ground as a guaranty that 
the various bargains made throughout the State, shall be 
carried out. Then comes the party caucus, which all must 
attend and to whose decrees all must submit or lose theii 
party standing. Finally the majority of the caucus, which 
is usually a minority of the Legislature, nominates the cor 
poration candidate and the drunken brawl that has rendered 
the State Capital disorderly for a fortnight or more, is at an 
end and the people are betrayed. 



In Great Britain the Commons control the politics of the 
realm. The Lords follow, and hence rarely originate a 

There have been but three instances of conflict between 
:he two houses of Parliament for sixty years. In 1860 a 
conflict arose concerning the abolition of the paper duty. 
The lower house had voted it and the Lords wished to 
object. Both the Commons and the Ministry of Lord 
Palmerston disputed the right of the Lords to make any 
mange in a bill relating to taxation, and the Lords were 
forced to yield. In 1868 and in 1874 similar conflicts con- 
cerning the Irish Church Bill and the jurisdiction of the 
English bishops, resulted in signal victories for the Com- 
mons. But it is a common thing, at every session of our 
Congress, for the Senate to strike out all after the enacting 
clause of bills relating to revenue, and insert an entirely 
new bill of their own. This course was pursued in the 
case of the Mills Tariff Bill, in the Fiftieth Congress, and 
in the Forty-ninth Congress the Morrison Bill was rejected 
altogether. In vain did the House plead for an observance 
of the Constitution, which requires that Revenue Bills shall 
originate in the House. The Senate haughtily persisted in 
according to the House the right to simply originate the 
formal title: "Be it enacted," but the right to originate 
the vital portions of the bill they stubbornly arrogated to 
themselves — thus trampling under foot both the Constitu- 
tion and popular sentiment at one and the same time. 

Theoretically the sovereign of Great Britain can with- 
hold assent from any measure which may be passed by 
Parliament, but since the days when Queen Anne refused 
to sanction the Scotch Militia Bill, in 1707, the royal 
approval has never been withheld. 


A vote in the House of Commons, in opposition to the 
policy of the ministry, hurls every minister from his posi- 
tion and compels a reorganization in harmony with public 
opinion. In democratic America, strange to say, the 
Senate is all powerful. To an alarming extent they can, 
and do, control both the House and the Executive, through 
the power lodged in them to confirm Executive appoint- 
ments, and in various other ways. To illustrate: The 
present Senate has a Republican majority. During the 
administration of President Cleveland, the writer knew of 
instances where Democratic Secretaries of the Treasury, 
and of the Interior, before making appointments requiring 
confirmation by the Senate, requested a friend to consult 
with prominent Republican Senators and try to ascertain 
whether the appointments would be confirmed if made. 
This is of frequent occurrence in other departments within 
the knowledge of the writer. It is equivalent to giving 
the Senate, or still worse, the Senators consulted, the 
power to select, in addition to the power to confirm. Any- 
one at all acquainted with the manner of doing business in 
the House of Representatives is aware of the fact that 
measures are frequently framed with a view to their accept- 
ability in the Senate, rather than with reference to the 
pressing wants of the public, even when the two bodies 
differ in politics; and, as to important measures, it is 
almost universally true when they are in political accord. 

"let us alone." 

The corporations and special interests of every class 
created during the past twenty-five years by various species 
of class legislation and favoritism, have grown rich and 
powerful. They are now pleading to be let alone. They 
cry out, "You will disturb the peace, unsettle business and 
violate our vested constitutional rights."' The world has 


heard similar lamentations before. The same spirit has 
lurked in the pathway of progress and hissed its sinister 
protests from behind the Constitution and from beneath the 
very altars of our holy religion, from the beginning until 
now. The same argument was urged against the intro- 
duction of the gospel in the early days of Christianity. 
Alexander, the coppersmith, found that the new doctrine 
would interfere with his sale of the images of Diana, and 
therefore concluded the gospel should not be tolerated. 
And the Good Book tells us that the evil spirit that was 
caught torturing a poor unfortunate victim, upon beholding 
the Savior besought him to depart and not to interfere 
with his vested rights — not to cast him out before his 
time. This is perhaps the earliest enunciation of the 
salutary doctrine of vested rights. And it is a noteworthy 
fact that most of those who have occasion to plead it in 
modern times are engaged in the business of torturing 
somebody. But the preaching of the gospel did not cease, 
the sale of images disappeared and the Devil had to go. 
This old plea is now urged, however, in behalf of corpora- 
tion usurpers and tyrants. They have nothing to gain by 
change. On the contrary everything to lose. Their Jug- 
gernaut must move and the car of progress stand 
still. They would not have the situation otherwise than it 
is, and as the most effectual method of enforcing this 
policy they have quietly filled the Senate with their friends. 
The punishment meted out by the corporations to Judge 
Thurman, of Ohio, for the faithful discharge of his duty 
concerning the Pacific railroads, while a member of the 
Senate, and the defeat of General Van Wyck, in Nebraska, 
after the people had expressed a desire for his re-election 
— these and a score of similar instances — attest only too 
accurately the extent and the deadly character of corporate 
influence in this body. 


The Senate, as we have seen, was incorporated into oui 
legislative system as a check upon the rashness and appre- 
hended extremes of the popular branch of Congress. Bui 
it was not contemplated, even by Dickinson and Hamilton, 
that it should become the stronghold of monopoly, noi 
that it should hedge up the way to all reform and make 
impossible the peaceful overthrow of conceded abuses. In 
fact no tendency in this direction was observable until 
within the past thirty years. But of late this body has 
come to represent both the evil and the inertia of govern- 
ment. When you visit the Senate chamber you are at once 
reminded of antiquity. You feel that you are not far 
removed from that period when the changeless laws of the 
Medes and Persians were in force. If, without diverting 
your attention, you could be suddenly transported to an 
Egyptian charnel-house filled with mummies, you would be 
likely to mistake it for a Senate cloak-room. The very 
foot-falls of the Senators, as they walk across the tessellated 
floors sound like a constant iteration of statu quo! statu 
quo! statu quo! 


Recent occurances have caused many persons to doubt 
the correctness of public sentiment concerning the Senate. 
The whole country was taken aback and the majority of the 
people agreeably surprised, during the session of the Fifty- 
first Congress, by the passage through the Senate of a bill 
providing for the free coinage of silver. It was strangled 
in the House of Representatives and the people were 
amazed. Many thought that this called at least for a sus- 
pension, if not for a revision of public sentiment concerning 
the upper house of our Congress. A moment's reflection 
will explain it all. The Republican majority in the Senate 


is not large. There are a few Republican Senators like Mr. 
Jones and Mr. Stewart of Nevada, Mr. Teller of Colorado, 
and Mr. Stanford of California, who really favor free coin- 
age; and so of a few Democratic Senators, like Mr. Daniela 
of Virginia, Mr. Yorhees, of Indiana, and others. But the 
great body of Democratic Senators voted for free coinage 
with no higher motive than to embarrass the Republican 
speaker, the leaders of the House and the administration, 
who were known to be hostile to such legislation. For ex- 
ample, Senator Carlisle voted for the bill in the Senate, 
and yet while he was Speaker of the House in the preced- 
ing Congress, he was known to be uncompromisingly hostile 
to the free coinage of silver; and although he always 
appointed Mr. Bland chairman of the Committee on Coin- 
age, Weights and Measures, he invariably filled the com- 
mittee with anti-silver men, and thus made legislation in that 
direction impossible. No, with a sort of feline cruelty they 
were only playing with the free coinage mouse. It could 
be allowed to escape from the Senate, but they felt certain 
that the presiding officer at the other end of the Capitol 
could be relied upon to slay it at first sight. And if, unhap- 
pily, it should run successfully the gauntlet of the House, 
there was a trap at (the other end of the avenue already 
waiting for the intruder, and it could be relied upon to do 
its work — an Executive veto was in waiting. Had there 
been the slightest probability, or even possibility, that the 
bill would become a law it could never have been reported 
for consideration. This view of the silver episode is in 
strict accord with the history of the Senate for fully a 
quarter of a century, and it is in harmony with the personal 
biography of a large majority of its members regardless of 



The opinion expressed b}' Mr. Dickinson, in the constitu- 
tional convention, that men of wealth would be morelikel} - 
to be selected for the Senate by State legislatures than by 
the people themselves, has been justified by the experience 
of the last thirty years. A large number of Senators art 
men of great wealth. Many of them have been the bene 
ficiaries of class legislation which of late years has marked 
our history, and have acquired fabulous fortunes. A few 
have grown rich by superior business energy and enter- 
prise. A small number inherited their riches. But with- 
out regard to the methods by which their wealth was 
acquired, the over-shadowing influence of the wealth}' 
members over their less fortunate colleagues is a fact 
bej^ond dispute. It is still true that knowledge is power, 
but its processes are often tedious and its rewards tardy. 
Accumulated wealth is also power and it can exercise its 
strength at a moment's notice and often, for the time being, 
drives knowledge ignominiously from the field. But 
the latter generally returns re-enforced by experience. 
Ready cash is the storage battery of social and business 
influence. When directed in legitimate channels its ener- 
gies are helpful and safe; but it also possesses a death- 
dealing current and the world is full of its victims. Under 
our present method of electing Senators it is an easy matter 
for an unscrupulous man of wealth to secure the position. 
When elected it is extremely difficult to displace him. 
Length of service affords opportunity to become established 
socially and officially. When a new Senator makes his 
appearance he is duly estimated and every courtesy and 
clever attention is extended to him. If the new member is a 
man of wealth, his status is fixed at once. If he is poor, it 
will not be long, unless he be unusually alert, before he is 


likely to find himself under some obligation to his wealthy 
colleagues which tends to greatly circumscribe his power 
and limit his independence. If wealthy Senators were few 
in number they would still wield a dangerous influence over 
legislation. But when you add numbers to wealth, the 
danger is frightfully increased. At least a score of our 
Senators are millionaires. Another score are worth each a 
hundred thousand or more. Half a score are men of very 
considerable wealth. The remainder range from twenty 
thousand down to near the value of their salaries. 


The immense volume of legislation relating to land 
grants, internal and external commerce, railway subsidies, 
excise taxes and import duties, contracts for carrying the 
mails, purchase of Indian lands, private land grants, steam 
ship subsidies, and a thousand and one other matters, have 
given rise to a flood tide of litigation unequaled in any age 
or clime. A large number of the contentions rising out of 
this legislation involve the construction of acts of congress, 
and not unf requently their constitutionality also. In many 
cases the collection and proper disbursement of public 
moneys are called directly in question, and as long as Sen- 
ators stand in the relation of law makers to the public, a 
proper appreciation of their high office should restrain them 
from appearing as attorneys, either for corporations or 
individuals, in cases involving the proper interpretation of 
statutes which they themselves have made. The practice, 
however, is just the reverse. When the Supreme Court is in 
session it is a common thing to see the leading Senators 
leave their seats and pass into the court room, there to act 
as counsel for the leading corporations. Many Senators 
are annually retained by corporations and other moneyed 
interests. Such things are incompatible with the faithful 


discharge of public duty. It is true that the salaries and 
lawful emoluments of Senatorial life are meagre and unin- 
viting; but no one is compelled to accept them. When 
once accepted, however, the privileges of the lawyer should 
cease just where the duties of the public servant begin. 
At this point his relation to the public changes entirely. 
The Nation then becomes his client and he should appear in 
his place and plead the cause of the whole people without 
mental reservation or self-evasion. No other rule is com- 
patible with public duty or private honor. Public senti- 
ment which will knowingly tolerate the infraction of such 
rule is utterly demoralized, and law makers who insist upon 
such indulgence should at once be permitted to return to 
the practice of their profession and to private life. 


There is not a single great leader in the Senate of to-day, 
not one who is abreast of the times, or who can be truth- 
fully said to be the exponent of American civilization or 
the active champion of the reforms made necessary by the 
growth and changed relations of a century, and which 
are now struggling for recognition. John P. Jones, of 
Nevada, is the ripest philosopher, and by all odds the 
greatest thinker now in the Senate. We doubt, indeed, 
whether he has ever had an equal, along the line of eco- 
nomic thought, in all the history of that distinguished 
bod} . The versatility and scope of his genius make him a 
matchless teacher and he will forever rank as one of the 
great men of his day. He is full of forceful, original 
thought, and expresses himself in proverbs, but he lacks 
that singleness of purpose which marks the great leader. 
He has, in his mental armory, sufficient munitions of war 
to equip a whole legion, but he waits for others to recruit 
the forces and lead them to battle. There are other Sen- 



ators who have a clear conception of duty, but this con- 
ception never ripens into action. They are stifled by their 
surroundings and dwarfed by their parties. One and all, 
they stand dumb and aimless in the presence of the mighty 
problems of the age. The situation reminds one of the 
era in the history of our planet mentioned in the book of 
Genesis, when it is said: "There was not a man to till the 

This august body is literally filled with splendid speci- 
mens of a by-gone epoch — men whose only mission is to 
preserve the old order of things — to guard the embalmed 
corpse of the past from the touch of the profane reformer. 
They are the lineal descendents of the fellows who skulked 
in the camp of Israel when Joshua insisted on crossing 
the Jordan into the promised land. They are as much out 
of place in this pulsating age of reform as a mastodon or a 
megatherium would be among a herd of our modern well 
bred domestic animals. They are ■ fit only to adorn 
museums and musty cabinets. If their commissions could 
be recalled to-day and the question of their return referred 
to an open vote of their constituents, there is not one in ten 
who would stand a ghost of a show for re-election. They 
are not in touch with the people. Their strength lies in 
their entrenched position — not in their achierements nor 
the principles which they represent. If dislodged, they 
would be powerless to make another stand. We, of course, 
do not include in this criticism the two or three prophets 
of the new order of things, who have but recently been 
commissioned to go unto Ninevah, that great cit}', and to 
preach unto it. the preaching whereunto they have been 
called. It will be time enough to speak of them when 
they shall have had opportunity to obey those who sent 


Every great movement and struggle of the race develops 
its own leaders, who are forced to assault fortified positions 
and fight against great odds. Some positions have to be 
carried by storm, while others can only be taken by regular 
approaches which sorely try the endurance and resources 
of the besieging columns. Such were the characteristics of 
the great struggle of the 60's. Their storming parties were 
hurled forward with dash and power, and their sieges were 
stubborn and successful. To change the figure, the pion- 
eers in the movement doubtless had a clear vision of the 
land to be ultimately possessed, but they quickly passed 
away and were succeeded by an inferior order of leaders 
who felt that they had done their whole duty when they 
had driven out the wild beasts, cleared away the forest and 
prepared the ground for the reception of good seed. They 
then rested upon their laurels and allowed the enemy to sow 
the field with tares. The seed has grown, the harvest has 
ripened, and the reapers are under orders to burn the tares. 

The moral, intellectual and political leaders during the 
twenty years immediately following the war, with the sin- 
gle exception of Wendell Phillips, failed to comprehend 
the problems which confronted them. They stopped with 
the overthrow of the outward form of slavery. Through 
the strength and suffering of the great army of the people 
they succeeded in breaking the chains of chattel slavery and 
prepared the way for the complete triumph of man over 
those who lived by the enslavement of labor. All that was 
necessary was one more forward movement of the column, 
and the victory would have been complete. But they failed 
to make it and surrendered to a handful of task masters of 
another type, whose triumphs in the slave trade have never, 
in all the ages, been limited by distinctions of race or com- 
plexions of skin. This class of slave drivers have never 
yet been routed or permanently crippled. They have plied 


their cruel vocation among all the families of men. To 
overthrow them is the grand work of the new crusade. Con- 
federated labor has proclaimed the new emancipation. Now 
let the great army of toilers move on the enemy's worki 
and enforce the decree. 


The Constitution makes each house of Congress the judge 
of the qualification and election of its own members. They 
can, and do, prescribe their own codes of procedure, and 
the rules which shall govern the production of testimony in 
proceedings looking to the expulsion of a member. If a 
Senator is charged with the corrupt use of money in secur- 
ing his election, it is quite natural that the other Senators, 
many of whom are under the same cloud, should at least be 
disposed to take a very charitable view of the rules which 
should govern the investigation and their own final action. 
There is a deep-seated conviction among the people, which 
in some way is strengthened by each recurring Senatorial 
election, that such positions are secured by open and shame- 
less bribery and the criminal expenditure of money. In- 
deed, it has become of late the custom to inform the public, 
in a general way, that it cost the successful candidate from 
|50,000 to perhaps four times that sum to secure his elec- 
tion, and that the rival and defeated candidate — well, he 
was a little too coarse to pass through the Hamiltonian 
filter. His purse gave out, and the glittering prize eluded 
his grasp. 

In the month of January, 1884, Henry B. Payne was elected 
to the Senate by the Legislature of the State of Ohio, having 
been nominated previously by the Democratic caucus, in 
which he received 45 votes, Durbin Ward 17, George H. 
Pendleton 15. The result was unexpected, as it was sup- 


posed the sitting member, the Hon. George H. Pendleton, 
and Mr. Durbin Ward, had secured the pledges of a safe 
majority of those who would constitute the caucus of the 
dominant party, and the chances were largely in favor of 
Mr. Pendleton as against the field. No one had been so 
rash as to anticipate the election of Mr. Pa\me, nor had his 
candidacy even been mentioned prior to the election of the 
Legislature. The result was so unexpected that the large 
majority of the Democratic newspapers of the State openly 
charged that Payne's election had been secured by the cor- 
rupt use of money. Judge McKemy, of Butler county; 
Judge Coryell, of Adams; Allen G. Thurman and Gen. 
A. J. Warner, Democrats of national fame, all charged that 
the election of Payne was the result of corrupt purchase. 
Finally, the succeeding General Assembly of the State of 
Ohio, Republican in politics, proceeded to investigate the 
case. A large amount of very damaging and startling tes- 
timony was taken and reported by the committee. The 
Ohio Senate and House, each acting separately, passed the 
following resolutions, and transmitted them, along with the 
testimony adduced, to the Senate of the United States: 

Whereas, by common report, suggested and corrobo- 
rated by the public press of the State without respect to 
party, and by a recent investigation of the House of Repre- 
sentatives, the title of Henry B. Payne to a seat in the 
United States Senate is vitiated by corrupt practices and 
the corrupt use of mone} r in procuring his election; and 

Whereas, it is deemed expedient, in order to secure a 
thorough investigation of his said election as Senator by 
the United States Senate, that the belief of the General 
Assembly in this regard be formulated in a specific charge: 
Therefore, be it 

Resolved, That in the opinion of the General Assembly, 
and it so charges, the election of Henry B. Payne as Sen- 
ator of the United States from Ohio, in January, 1884, was 


procured and brought about by the corrupt use of money, 
paid to or for the benefit of divers and sundry members of 
the Sixty-sixth General Assembly of Ohio, and by other 
corrupt means and practices, a more particular statement 
of which cannot now be given. 

Resolved, That the Senate of the United States be, and 
the same is hereby, requested to make a full investigation 
into the facts of such election so far as pertains to corrupt 
means used in that behalf. 

Resolved, That the governor be, and is hereby, requested 
to forward a copy thereof to' the president of the Senate ot 
the United States. 

I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and correct 
copy of said resolution, as the same appears upon the Senate 
journal of Friday, May 14, 1886, after being changed from 
a "joint" to a ''Senate" resolution, and adopted by the 
Senate. C. N. Yallandigham, 

Clerk Ohio Senate. 

[H. R. No. 89.— Mr. Brumback.] 

Whereas, it is the precedent in the United States Senate 
that charges of briber} 7 must be directly made to warrant a 
committee of said body in proceeding to investigate the 
title of any United States Senator to his seat: Therefore, 

■Be it resolved by the House of Representatives of Ohio, 
That in the investigation made under House resolution No. 
28, ample testimony was adduced to warrant the belief that 
the charges heretofore made by the Democratic press of 
Ohio are true, to-wit: That the seat of Henry B. Payne, in 
the United States Senate, was purchased by the corrupt use 
of money ; and 

Further resolved, That the honor of Ohio demands, and 
this House of Representatives requests, that the said title of 
Henry B. Payne to a seat in the United States Senate be 
rigidly investigated by said Senate; and 

Further resolved, That the governor of Ohio be requested 
to forward a copy of this resolution to the president of the 
United States Senate. 

In House of Representatives. 

Adopted May 18, 1886. 

Attest: David Lanning, Clerk. 


In addition to this charge of corruption and request for 
investigation by the Legislature of Ohio, ten of the Repre- 
sentatives in Congress from that State, headed by the Hon. 
Benjamin Butterworth and the Hon.JVIr. Little, also made 
formal charges and requested investigation. The names of 
witnesses, and a fearful synopsis of what could be proven 
by them, accompanied the request. It must be remem- 
bered that the Senate was the only body then having com- 
plete jurisdiction over both the accused and the subject 
matter under controversy. The moment that the certificate 
of election was delivered to Mr. Payne, the Senate became 
the sole judge of his qualification and election. 

April 27th, 1886, the Senate of the United States referred 
these resolutions, together with the accompanying testi- 
mony, to the Committee on Privileges and Elections, com- 
posed of nine members, five Republicans and four Demo- 
crats, to-wit : Wra. M. Evarts, H. M. Teller, John A. Logan, 
Geo. F. Hoar. Wm. P. Frye, James L. Pugh, Eli Saulsbury, 
Z. B. Yance and J. B. Eustis. 

In addition to the mass of printed testimony referred to 
this committee, Mr. Butterworth and Mr. Little appeared 
in person and gave the names of additional witnesses by 
whom the charges could be sustained, if the committee 
wished to be informed. 

The evidence taken before the committee of the Ohio 
Legislature, and submitted to the Senate committee, estab- 
lished by creditable witnesses the following facts : 

One member, after the caucus, deposited $2,500 in two 
amounts, and being charged that it was the price of his 
vote, did not persist in denial. Another who changed to 
Payne, just before the caucus, stated to a colleague that he 
was offered $5,000 to vote for Payne, and intended to accept 
it, and tried to induce Ins colleague to do the same. That 
this person's wife, just afterward, deposited $2,500 in a 


Toledo bank, took a certificate therefor, which she trans- 
ferred to her husband. 

Another, who is claimed to have changed suddenly from 
Pendleton to Payne, is found making 1 , soon after, expendi- 
tures amounting to Si, 600 with his own money on land, the 
title to which was taken in the name of his father, who paid 
$2,000 for it about the same time. The father and son lived 
together in the same house. The son testified that he did 
not know where the father got the money to pay the $2,000. 
The father refused to state where he got his $2,000, and 
said he did not know where the son got the $1,600, and if 
he did he would not tell. The same member also made 
other large payments of money about the same time. 

Another, who had to borrow money when he went to 
Columbus, and changed suddenly from Pendleton to Payne, 
was shown just after the election to be in possession of 
money to purchase property, refurnish his house, etc. He 
was denounced by another member as having sold his vote. 
He turned exceedingly sick, made no denial, and was taken 
awa}\ Two others, elected as anti-monopolists, became 
supporters of Mr. Payne, and were heard discussing to- 
gether the amount of money each had received. Another, 
who had before beta for another candidate, but voted for 
Mr. Pa\ne, received from Oliver B. Payne $3,500, which 
he said was a loan. Another, according to affidavits pro- 
duced by Mr. Little, was declared by a fellow member to 
be claiming $3,500 for his vote. Another, who had been 
very earnest in support of Pendleton, visited the room of* 
Mr. Pavne's managers, where the large sums of money are 
alleged to have been seen, and immediately afterward voted 
for Mr. Pa} r ne. 

Sixty-five thousand dollars was taken to Columbus, as 
stated to a witness by D. K. Paige, Payne's friend. The 
room of Paige, immediately preceding the caucus, presented 


the appearance of a bank, as stated by Governor Mueller and 
Paige's friend. There were, in Paige's private room, coir 
sacks, empty sacks, and cases for greenbacks, scattered 
about on the floor and table, according to Paige's friend, 
who called to see him, and a few moments afterwards told 
Colonel Russell, saying, also, that Payne would get there. 
It appears that the conversions from Pendleton to Payne 
were largely the result of a visit to the Paige rooms. 

It appears, also, that those who had been pledged to 
Pendleton were immediately thereafter flush, could dis- 
charge debts, lift mortgages, and bu}' property for cash. 

With these facts before them, the committee reported 
that there was not sufficient evidence to justify the Senate 
in further investigation ! The following is taken from the 
majority report : 

Your committee are of the opinion that, to deprive a 
sitting member of the Senate of his seat, the Senate must 
be satisfied by legal evidence that he was personally guilty 
of bribery, or that he was personally connected with the 
bribery or the corrupt use of money to secure his election, 
or that he had personal knowledge of such corrupt use of 
money, and personally sanctioned or encouraged such use 
thereof to insure his election. The legal effect of such 
personal guilt of the sitting member on his election your 
committee do not decide, some members being of opinion 
that whether it extended to the corruption of the majority 
of the nominating caucus or the majority of the Legislature 
of the State which secured his election is immaterial. The 
trial of the validity of his title or on the question of his 
expulsion, as the single personal act of bribery or other 
corrupt use of money by the sitting member, as stated, to 
procure his election, would be sufficient, in the opinion of 
some of us, to invalidate the title he claims to have 
acquired, and would justify his expulsion from the Senate. 

Your committee are also of the opinion that, if the evi- 
dence failb to show that the sitting member was guilty of 
the briberv of anv member of the caucus or the Legislature, 


or had any personal knowledge or agency in the bribery, 
or the corrupt use of money to secure his election, then the 
Senate must be satisfied by legal evidence that a sufficient 
number of the members of the Legislature were bribed by 
the friends of the sitting member to secure the votes ol 
enough members of the Legislature to insure his election, 
and that without the votes thus corruptly obtained the sit- 
ting member could not have been declared elected. 

That Henry B. Payne has not been charged with having 
anything to do personally, or with having any personal 
knowledge of, connection with, or participation in any act, 
or anything that may have been done, or charged as having 
been done, that was wrong, criminal, immoral, or repre- 
hensible in his election; that no member of your commit- 
tee, and no witness, Representative, or other person, has 
expressed the opinion or intimated any belief or suspicion 
that Henry B. Payne is or was connected in the remotest 
degree, by act or knowledge, with anything that was or 
may have been wrong, or criminal, or immoral in his 

A majority of your committee report that on the whole 
case, as presented to them, they recommend that the Senate 
make no further investigation of the charge involving the 
right of Henry B. Payne to his seat. 

Seven of the committee, four Democrats and three Repub- 
licans, concurred in this report. Senators Hoar and Frye 
made a minority report, in which they say : 

The Ohio Senate of 1883-84 contained 33 members. Of 
these 22 were Democrats and 11 Republicans. The House 
contained 105 members, of which 60 were Democrats and 
15 Republicans. The members entitled to vote on joint 
ballot were 138 in all, 82 Democrats, and 56 Republicans. 
Eighty-two persons were entitled to vote in the Democratic 
caucus, of whom 42 were a majority. Seventy-nine per- 
sons actually attended that caucus, of which 40 were a ma- 
jority. Is there fair reason for instituting an inquiry 
whether the result of the election was procured by bribery? 
We think that the character of the persons making the 


charge is of itself sufficient to require the Senate to listen 
to it. But they produce a great body of evidence, all 
pointing in the same direction. 

We are not now to consider whether the case is proved, 
or even whether there be a prima facie case. There has 
as yet been no evidence laid before us addressed to either 
of these considerations. That cannot be done without the 
issue of process for the attendance of witnesses. Messrs. 
Little and Butterworth now offer, on their personal respon- 
sibility, to establish to the satisfaction of the Senate, largely 
by witnesses who were not within the reach of the Ohio 
committee, and partly by evidence which strengthens, sup- 
plements and confirms that which was before that commit- 
tee, the following among other propositions: 

First. That of the Democratic members elected to the 
Sixty-sixth General Assembly more than three-fourths were 
positively pledged to Mr. Pendleton and General Ward, 
and more than a majority pledged to Mr. Pendleton. This 
they offer to prove by Mr. Pendletom himself, by Col. W. 
A. Taylor, and others. 

Second. That in these pledges these members repre- 
sented the opinion and desire of their constituents. 

Third. That Mr. Payne was nowhere spoken of or 
known as a candidate during the popular election or until 
a very short time before the appointment of Senator. 

Fourth. That just before the legislative caucus, where 
the nomination was made, which was one week before the 
election, large sums of money were placed by Mr. Payne's 
son, and other near friends of his, at the control of the 
active managers of his canvass in Columbus. This they 
allege can be shown D3 r the books of one or more banks. 

Fifth. Mr. Payne's near friends declare that his 
election has cost very large sums. 

A gentleman whose name is offered to be given will 
testify that David R. Paige declared to him that he had 
handled §65,000. 

Oliver B. Paine stated to the same person that it had 
cost him $100, 000 to elect his father. 

Sixth. That the members of the Legislature whc 
changed from Pendleton to Pa3'ne, did so after secret and 


confidential interviews with the agents who had the dis- 
bursement of these moneys. 

Seventh. That members of the Legislature who sc 
suddenly changed their attitude can be proved to have, at 
about the time of the change, acquired large sums oi 
money, of which they give no satisfactory account. 

Eighth. Respectable Ohio Democrats affirm that just 
before the caucus the room of Mr. Payne's manager, Mr. 
Paige, "was like a banking house," the "evidence of large 
sums of money was abundant and conclusive," that Paige's 
clerk declared in the presence of a gentleman of integrity 
that "he had never seen so much money handled in 
his life." 

Ninth. That the public belief that the choice of Senator 
was procured by the corrupt use of money prevails almost 
universally in Ohio among persons of both parties, which 
finds very general expression in the press. 

Tenth. That there is specific proof leading with great 

force to the conclusion that each of ten members will be 

shown to have changed their votes corruptly, and thereby 

that the result was changed. 
The Senate has also recently referred to the committee 

certain resolutions adopted b\ a convention of the Repub- 
lican editors of Ohio, held at Columbus, July 8, 1886, 
praying the Senate to investigate these charges. The 
newspaper reports of the convention show that the Gover- 
nor of the State was present at the convention, and 
declared his concurrence in said prayer. There have also 
been communicated to us extracts from the Democratic 
newspapers of Ohio, showing that a majority of those 
papers have declared their opinion that the election was 
procured by corruption. Copies of these extracts are 

What is the effect upon an election of Senator by bribery 
of voters in a caucus of Legislators who are to make the 
choice, is a question upon which we prefer not to form an 
opinion until the evidence is before us. The members of a 
caucus ordinarily deem themselves bound in honor to vote 
in the election for the person whom it nominates, by the 
vote of a majority, on condition that such person belong 


to their part}', and is fit for the office in point of character 
and ability. Bribery, therefore, which changes the result 
in the caucus, would ordinarily determine the election. 

Ii B, C, and D have promised to vote as A shall vote, if 
A be corrupted, four votes are gained by the process, 
although B, C, and D be innocent. In looking, therefore, 
to see whether an election by the Legislature was procured 
or effected by briber}'', it may be very important to discover 
whether that bribery procured the nomination of a caucus, 
whose action a majority of the Legislature were bound in 
honor to support. Seventy-nine persons attended the Sen- 
atorial caucus and voted on the first ballot. Of these Mr. 
Payne had the votes of 46, Ward 17, Pendleton 15, Booth 1. 
If six only of Mr. Payne's votes in the caucus were pro- 
cured by bribery, the result oi the election of Senator was 
clearly brought about by that means. Now, Messrs. Little 
and Butterworth tsnder specific proof, part of which was 
before the Ohio committee and part here offered for the 
first time, directly and very strongly tending to create the 
belief as to each of ten of the members of the Ohio Legis- 
lature that his vote for Mr. Payne was purchased, and that 
proper process and inquiry will establish the fact by com- 
petent and sufficient evidence. 

One member, after the caucus, deposited 82,500 in two 
amounts, and being charged that it was the price of his vote 
did not persist in a denial. 

In submitting their views the minority urged the follow- 
ing with great force : 

It will hardly be doubted that cases of purchase of seats 
in the Senate will multiply rapidly under the decision pro- 
posed by the majority of the committee. The first great 
precedent to constitute the rule under this branch of law is 
to be this: 

Held, By the Senate of the United States, that a charge 
made by the Legislature of a State, and by the committee 
of the political party to which the larger number of its 
citizens belong, and by ten of its Representatives in Con- 
gress, that an election of Senator was procured by bribery, 
accompanied by the offer to prove the fact, does not 
deserve the attention of the Senate. 


The Senate, controlled by the Republican party, adopted 
the majority report and refused to proceed further with the 
matter. There seems to have been no dispute between the 
majority and the minority of the committee as to the facts in 
the case. They differed solely as to the propriety of further 
investigation and action. It is amazing to think that the 
rule laid down and its application in this particular case, has 
the deliberate sanction of a majority of both Republican and 
Democratic Senators. Should we be surprised that popular 
confidence has been shaken in the integrity of this body? 
rhe Ohio case does not stand alone. Almost every state in 
the Union has been cursed by the same shameless and corrupt 
use of money in Senatorial elections, and hence the now 
almost universal demand that the Senate shall be made elec- 
tive by popular vote. The disinclination of the Senate to 
proceed with this case was well understood by the people, 
and the rule upon whicli the committee based its report was 
felt to be abhorrent to honesty, decenc}' and common-sense. 
When it is once established by reliable evidence, that a 
single member who voted for the successful candidate, re- 
ceived or was offered money to cast his vote or use his influ- 
ence, it should vitiate the election. There is neither safety 
nor propriety in any other rule. The position of the com- 
mittee offers immunity to crime and bribery-. It openly 
points out a way by which elections to the Senate can be 
secured by crime without the disagreeable apprehension of 
punishment. Even under the abomin able rule of the commit- 
tee, Mr. Payne should have been put upon his trial. It is clear 
that members were paid large sums to vote for him in the 
Ohio Legislative caucus; and both he and his managers were 
too smart to have expended the money if the votes were not 
necessary to nominate in the caucus and elect in the Legisla- 
ture. Whatever may have been the doubts entertained by 
the Senate committee two years after the transaction, it is 


certain that Mr. Payne's managers thought that they needed 
the votes at the time. For the complete history of this 
shameful case the reader is referred to Senate Report No. 
1490, First Session, Forty-ninth Congress. But shocking 
and disgraceful as it is, it can be matched and duplicated in 
almost every state in this Union. We have selected this as 
a representative case. It taints both of the old parties. The 
Democratic as committing the felony and the Republican as 
concealing the crime. The present constitutional method of 
election is a lamentable failure and the situation cries aloud 
for reform. The time has come when the people should plat 
a whip of cords and scourge the promotors of bribery from 
the temple. They who buy will also sell, and the punish- 
ment for such betrayal of duty should be swift and relentless. 
Such is the present status of the American Senate. Its 
fallen condition was not reached by a single bound. It is 
the result of growth, nurtured by an aristocratic and undem- 
ocratic method of selecting this class of public servants — a 
method which invites corruption and destroys in the person 
elected all sense of responsibility to the people. 


The cure for this frightful public affliction cannot be ap- 
plied too quickly. It should consist of a plain amendment 
to the Constitution which shall provide for the election of the 
United States Senators by the direct vote of the people of the 
respective States. The writer had the honor to introduce 
into the Forty-sixth, Forty-ninth and Fiftieth congresses 
joint resolutions which provided for this method of selection. 
They were referred to the judiciary committee but were 
never reported to the House. In the Fiftieth Congress, Mr. 
Oates, from the Committee on the Revision of the Laws, re- 
ported favorably a joint resolution of this character but it 
was not acted upon. The machine managers of the decrepit 
old party organizations view every suggestion of change 


with alarm. Like the worn out sluggard who is unwilling 
to rise with the dawn, they darken the windows of their hab- 
itations, draw down the curtains and shut out the light of 
day. Let them slumber. The chastisement of their sins is 
upon them and their dim eyes are turned toward the stygian 
shore. But the sun still shines, and a newer and more vig- 
orous civilization will inhabit the land. We can expect 
nothing from the old, but should trust confidingly for many 
good things from the new. It was the youthful shepherd 
boy and not the rheumatic, jealous-hearted old Saul, who 
slew the Mighty Man of Gath. We may never expect a 
paralytic to compete for the first prize as an athlete. Truth 
always chooses its own champions. It is ever stronger 
than its defenders and more powerful than its foes. 

Pending the tedious operation of amending the Constitu- 
tion, the people can readily secure practical control over the 
election of their Senators by publicly nominating in each 
State, from time to time, the man of their choice, and by 
publicly pledging the Legislative candidates to vote for such 

In the tremendous crisis which witnessed the dissolution 
and transformation of political parties in 1858-60, the people 
of Illinois flew to this method as to a rock of defense. 
Lincoln and Douglass were nominated for the Senate by 
their respective parties, and they met in joint debate before 
the people. Their audience" was the civilized world. The 
people were mentally and morally equipped by that debate 
for the unprecedented and dreadful drama upon which the 
curtain was then destined soon to rise. The world lost 
nothing by that struggle of the giants. Civilization gained 
much. One of the parties of Illinois recently returned to 
this praiseworthy example. It should be the rule at all times 
in all the states. The industrial movement has taken up 
this reform as one of its cardinal tenets, and with unabated 
zeal will press it to a successful conclusion. 



The presiding officer of the British House of Commons is 
styled the Speaker — so called because he speaks in the name 
of the House; and hence the title was adopted here by the 
framers of the Government who had long been familiar with 
the organization of the English Commons. 

In Great Britain, under the Tudors and Stuarts, the Speaker 
was chosen by the King and was the main instrument in his 
equipment of tyranny. For many years, however, this officer 
has been chosen by the House. At the opening of Parlia- 
ment the Queen graciously invites the Commons to select a 
Speaker and they accordingly proceed to carry out the regal 
request. When the selection is made it is submitted to Her 
Majesty for approval. The royal assent has never been 
withheld, but the formality proves that it could be and hence 
in the mutation of human affairs, at some time it may be. 
The Speaker of the House of Commons receives a salary of 
£5,000 per annum, is ex-officio a Privy Councilor, and resides 
in a palace provided by the Government. When he retires 
from office he is supplied with an annuity of £4,000 during 
two lives. The Speaker has, of course, very great 
power, but his authority is circumscribed by the over- 
shadowing influence of the Premier, who represents the 
the Ministry and hence the policy of the Government for the 
time being. The Speaker of the Commons cannot declare 
the House adjourned. This can only be done by a Member. 
In the matter of recognition when several Members rise at 
once and it becomes difficult to determine who shall proceed, 
the House decides who shall be recognized. The sequence 


in debate is usually determined by the "Whips" rather 
than by the Speaker. This will strike the American reader 
as being peculiar. But the Whip has grown to be a very 
important adjunct of Parliamentary authority. He is a 
Member who has been empowered by his political friends t< i 
assemble or warn them at critical moments in legislative 
procedure. The Ministry have three Whips and the Oppo- 
sition two. 

From the organization of the First Congress of the United 
States, April 1, 1789. to the close of the Fifty-first Congress. 
March 4, 1891, thirty-one different persons filled the office 
of Speaker of the House of Representatives. The first 
incumbent was Frederick A. Muhlenburg, of Pennsylvania, 
and the last, Thomas B. Reed, of Maine. From the year 
1789 to 1859, or from the First to the Thirty-fifth Congress, 
inclusive, twenty-two individuals . occupied this important 
office. From 1860 to March 4, 1891, inclusive, nine differ- 
ent Speakers presided over the House. 

During the first period, Henry Clay, of Kentucky, was 
six times chosen Speaker, which is the greatest honor ever 
accorded to any member of the American Congress. Next 
to this enviable record stands the name of Andrew Steven- 
son, of Yirginia, who was four times chosen between 1827 
and 1833. Since 1859 no one has held the Chair more than 
six years, or for three terms. Schuyler Colfax was Speaker 
from 1863 to 1869; James G. Blaine, from 1869 to 1875, and 
was succeeded by Michael C. Kerr, of Indiana, who died in 
August following his election, and was succeeded by Samuel 
J. Randall, of Pennsylvania, for the unexpired term. Mr. 
Randall was also chosen Speaker for the two succeeding 
Congresses, the Forty-fifth and Fort3 r -sixth. He was suc- 
ceeded by J. Warren Keiffer, of Ohio, who served during 
the Forty-seventh Congress. John G. Carlisle, of Kentucky, 
next succeeded to the Chair and served during the Fort}-- 


eighth, Forty-ninth and Fiftieth Congresses, and was sue 
ceeded by Thomas B. Keed, of Maine. 

The Constitution provides for the election of Speaker bv 
the House of Representatives. By the Act of Congress 
approved March 1, 1792, it was provided that in case of the 
death, resignation or inability of both President and Yice 
President, and in case there shall be no President protempor6 
of the Senate, the Speaker of the House for the time being 
shall act as President until the disability be removed or a 
President shall be elected. 

The power and influence of this great office have been 
but imperfectly understood by the Ameriean people; and 
even the great majority of men in public life have failed to 
comprehend its transcendent influence in governmental 
affairs. Through the force of tradition and precedent, in 
the course of the century it has been allowed to absorb about 
all the power of the House of Representatives as well as the 
independence of the individual members. Experience has 
shown that when a majority of the members unite in elevat- 
ing one of their number to preside over the House, they are 
likely to be largely controlled by his opinions if not by his 
will in matters of legislation. This majority is always rein- 
forced by a large number of members who belong to the 
minority, but who desire to secure the favor of the 
Speaker. The cause of this subserviency will appear as we 

Paragraph I, of Rule X, of the House of Representatives 
provides that unless otherwise- specially ordered by the 
House, the Speaker shall appoint, at the commencement oi 
each Congress, the standing committees. Paragraph H 
of the same Rule authorizes him to appoint all select com 
mittees which may- be ordered by the House fronutime tc 


"While this rule contemplates that the House may, if it so 
desire, provide other methods of selecting the committees, 
yet in point of fact it never does otherwise order, and the 
power to appoint remains unquestioned and is invariably 
exercised by the Speaker. 

We have said that Rule X authorized the Speaker to 
appoint the committees, but in fact the House, at the com- 
mencement of Congress, has no Rules. True, the Rules of 
the old Congress are in print, but they are not vital, for 
they perish with the House which adopted them. The new 
Congress enters upon its duties untrammeled, and can, in 
fact does, adopt its own Rules. Until a motion is made 
and adopted to make the Rules of the preceding House the 
Rules of the House then in session, the old Rules are without 
force, aud the bod} r is simply under the restraint of general 
parliamentary law. Hence, in its last analysis, we find that 
the power accorded to the Speaker to appoint the commit- 
tees is the result of custom rather than of law. But, how- 
ever derived, it is a fearful power to lodge in the hands of 
any one man. The Speaker must be chosen from among 
the Members. He comes from a district of prescribed 
limits, and a thousand considerations, both trivial aud 
important, some of public and others of a private char- 
acter, contributed to his election. The range of his mental 
vision may be circumscribed, or his judgment blurred and 
marred by the local surroundings peculiar to his district, or 
he may be entirely free from all bias whatever. The 
thought we wish to bring out is this: Why, beyond the 
point of absolute necessity, should one Member be clothed 
with the power which clearly belongs to. the whole body 
collectively? It cannot be said that the wisdom of the one 
is superior to the judgment of the whole body united; nor 
can it be claimed that anything can be gained in the line of 
purity of purpose. You have not fortified the House 


against corrupt influences and the seductive power of 
wealth; on the contrary, you have concentrated all the 
vicious forces of public life against a single individual and 
exposed the Republic to extreme peril. 

All who are acquainted with legislative history know 
that the danger of the abuse of power is very great, even 
when the authorit}* - of the speaker is reduced to the lowest 
point compatible with the orderly dispatch of business, and 
the peril is increased as more power is conferred. The 
power to appoint the committees now conceded to the 
Speaker practically confides all legislation to his hands. 
It makes liim an autocrat and enables him to mould legis- 
lation, stifle public sentiment, thwart the will of the 
majority and defy the wishes of the people. It is a matter 
of common occurrence for the most important committees 
to be made up in opposition to the sentiments of a majority 
of the House, and even in opposition to the known views 
of a majority of the Members who belong to the Speaker's 
own party. This has been notably true during the past 
twenty years. A Majority of the members of the House 
have at various times during this period, been in favor of 
the unrestricted coinage of silver, and during the time that 
the House has been under the control of the Democratic 
party, a majority of the Members who belonged to that 
party have clearly been in favor of unrestricted coinage, 
and yet the committee on Coinage, Weights and Measures 
has through all these years, except in the Forty-fifth 
Congress, been packed solidly against the measure. Take 
as an example three important committees, Banking and 
Currency, Coinage, Weights and Measures, and the com- 
mittee on the Pacific railroads. It is entirely safe to say 
that during this whole period, with the one exception 
named, these committees have never fairly represented 
public sentiment upon the important questions over which 


they have jurisdiction. They have been in most instaaces 
constructed out of harmony with the wishes of a majority 
of the House, and many times in opposition to the known 
wishes of a majority of the Members who placed the 
Speaker in the chair. And yet the House has uniformly 
submitted to the humilliation. From Congress to Congress, 
and from decade to decade, this farce is perpetrated before 
the eyes of the people; and even now this method by which 
a few circumvent the will of the majority is but little 
understood. Public sentiment is not observed. It is uni- 
formly defied. The object among our so-called statesmen 
seems to be to explore and ascertain the utmost limits and 
boundaries of public forbearance. Distrust of the people 
is apparent throughout all the stages of legislation. The 
wealthy and powerful gain a ready hearing; but the plod- 
ding, suffering, un-organized complaining multitude are 
spurned and derided. No respect whatever is paid to 
public opinion which sends the member to the National 
Congress. If he is not in accord with the Speaker's ideas 
of public policy, although he may be burning with desire 
to make known the wishes of his constituents and to take 
the advice of the House upon them; yet he is purposely 
placed at the tail end of the most unimportant committees 
known to the body, committees which have nothing what- 
ever to do with the great questions upon which he was 
elected. The people of his district may have given him a 
hearing, past upon his theories, approved of them and 
sent him to Congress to proclaim them to the Nation; yet 
one man from another District who happens to have been 
chosen Speaker, claims the right to declare that the Member 
shall be muzzled, that he shall be placed under ban and his 
theories, without a hearing, declared to be forbidden fruit. 
Perhaps the ideas of public policy entertained by the 
Speaker are the identical views which were rejected by the 


people of the district in question. No matter, the petty 
tyrant must be permitted to practice his black art, the 
fetish must not be profaned. Nor is this proscription 
exercised exclusively against Members of opposing parties. 
In every Congress it is applied with the same relentlessness 
to Members of the Speaker's own party who may differ 
with him concerning questions of public policy. 

In the year 1878, twelve Independents were elected to 
the Forty-sixth Congress upon certain economic questions. 
The leading contentions presented by these gentlemen 
were the Abolition of the National banks, Free coinage of 
silver, Increase of the currency by the issue of Legal Tender 
Treasury notes, and the strict Control of transportation 
monopolies. They had presented these important issues 
squarely to the people in their respective districts and had 
been triumphantly elected against great odds. The follow- 
ing are their names: George W. Jones, of Texas, William 
M. Lowe, of Alabama, Gilbert De LaMatyr, of Indiana, 
Thompson H. Murch and Geo. W. Ladd, of Maine, Seth 
H. Yocum and Hendrick B. Wright, of Pennsylvania. 
Nicholas Ford, of Missouri, Daniel L. Kussell, of North 
Carolina, Albert P. Forsythe, of Illinois, Edward H. 
Gillette and James B. Weaver, of Iowa. 

A. E. Stevenson, of Illinois, and William D. Kelley, of 
Pennsylvania, were closely allied with the twelve, were 
mainly in sympathy with iheir views of public policy and 
voted for their nominee for Speaker, but did not claim 
to be members of the new party. This was largely true, 
also, ot Hendrick B. Wright, although he remained out of 
the Democratic caucus and permitted his name to be used 
as the candidate of the third party. 

The gentlemen above named represented the protest of 
the producers of wealth against the abominable economic- 
policy of the old parties, which had jnst convulsed the 


country with panic, and plunged the industrial portion of 
the people headlong into poverty and disaster. 

The Democrats had control ©f the House and organized 
by the election of Samuel J. Randall, of Pennsylvania, as 
Speaker. He received 144 votes against 125 for James A. 
Garfield, of Ohio, the Republican candidate, 13 for Hend- 
rick B. Wright, of Pennsylvania, the candidate of the 
National Greenback party, and 1 vote for William D. 
Kelley. The whole number of Members elected to this 
Congress was 303. Hence it will be seen that although 
Mr. Randall received a majority of all the votes cast, he 
fell eight votes short of having a majority of the members 
elect. The point that a majority of all the Members elect 
was necessary to a choice was raised by Mr. Conger, of 
Michigan, but the Clerk of the House, Mr. Geo. W. 
Adams, ruled that a majority of a Quorum voting could 
lawfully elect the Speaker. This now seems to be the 
settled construction of the law. 

The Speaker was elected and the Members sworn in on 
the 18th day of March, 1878, but the committees were not 
announced until April 11th — a lapse of twenty-five days. 

Soon after the third party contingent made its appear- 
ance in Washington, it became apparent that the Represent- 
atives of that party were to meet with but little considera- 
tion from those who controlled the proceedings of the 
House. Important questions affecting the financial policy 
of the Government and the disposition to be made of nearly 
$800,000,000 of public debt, and in fact the whole range of 
fiscal matters, would be up for consideration during the 
session; but the managers of the two old parties had settled 
lines of policy which were essentially alike concerning 
these measures, and differing onl}' - in the degree of their 
devotion to the interests of the capitalistic classes. No 
serious interference was to be permitted from any quarter. 


The Democrats had control of both branches of Congress 
for the first time since the close of the war. Fernando 
Wood, of New York, who was made chairman of the 
House Committee on Ways and Means, had prepared a 
bill which provided for the funding of the above named 
portion of the public debt for forty years. Mr. Garfield had 
a substitute making the period fifty years. A Presidential 
campaign was just ahead and the desire to secure the sup- 
port of the money power, had evoked a spirit of rivalry 
between the leaders of the old parties which was as instruc- 
tive to the whole country as it was disgusting to patriotic 
people. The leaders of both would scheme in the com- 
mittee rooms in favor of the monopolies and the money 
kings, and then daily emerge into the arena of the House 
and quarrel and rave like maniacs over sectional matters. 
Almost every day witnessed the war-dance in which the 
chiefs would exhibit the ghastly scalps they had taken and 
lay bare the wounds inflicted during the war. Y ou could 
never tell when the paroxisms were to come on. They 
would burst forth at the most inopportune periods. Pande- 
monium reigned throughout the extra session and was 
resumed with renewed fury when the House convened 
regularly the following December. 

The Greenback contingent determined to make a bold 
stand for the people, and to place their banner above the 
angry storm of sectionalism which was everywhere howling 
about them. To this end they resolved first, to oppose with 
all the power at their command all attempts to fund the 
debt, and second, to force the House upon record upon the 
following questions: The abolition of the National banks, 
the issue of an adequate supply of Legal Tender treasury 
notes, and the policy of the unrestricted Coinage of silver. 
Under the rule then in force it was proper for any member 
on Monday, after the Journal had been read and approved, 


if he could secure the recognition of the Chair, to move to 
suspend the Rules and place upon its passage any bill or 
resolution which he might desire to offer. Accordingly, on 
the first Monday in Januar}^, 1880, the writer drafted the 
following resolutions, and asked to be recognized to move 
a suspension of the Rules in order to place them immediately 
upon their passage: 

Resolved, That it is the sense of this House that all cur- 
rency, whether metalic or paper, necessary for the use and 
convenience of the people, should be issued and its volume 
controlled by the Government, and not by or through the 
banking corporations of the country; and when so issued 
should be a full legal tender in payment of all debts, public 
and private. 

Resolved, That, in the judgment of this House, that por- 
tion of the interest-bearing debt of the United States which 
shall become redeemable in the year 1881, or prior thereto, 
being in amount $782,000,000, should not be refunded 
beyond the power of the Government to call in said obli- 
gations and pay them at any time, but should be paid as 
rapidly as possible, and according to contract. To enable 
the Government to meet these obligations, the mints of the 
United States should be operated to their full capacity in 
the coinage of Standard Silver Dollars, and such other 
coinage as the business interests of the country may 

Recognition was refused and the House adjourned in hot 
haste. On the following Monday the attempt to secure 
recognition from the Speaker was followed with like 
results. For thirteen weeks (three months) the struggle 
went on. After a few weeks of fruitless effort, the resolu- 
tions got into the papers and began to attract very wide 
attention. Crowds began to throng the galleries on Mon- 
iays, and the metropolitan newspapers were full of criti- 
2isms upon the aggravating perseverance of the author of 
:he resolutions. The Speaker was overwhelmed with cor- 
respondence touching the matter, man}' praising him for 


his firmness and others denouncing him as a tyrant worthy 
of death. Prominent caricaturists were employed by the 
monopoly organs to fill the illustrated weeklies with gross 
and uncomplimentary exaggerations of the author and the 
scope of his resolutions. The imaginative genius of Nast 
was called upon to swell the volume of misrepresentation 
and ridicule. The resolutions had by this time attracted 
universal notice. Everybody read them and wondered 
why they should meet with such fierce denunciation. 
Finally on March 6, 1880, Harper's Weekly, came out with 
a full page scurrillous travesty, representing the writer as a 
donkey, braying to the utter consternation of the House. 
The Speaker was represented as standing with his back to 
the author of the resolutions, members as holding their 
hands over their ears, others as endeavoring to crawl under 
the desks, and the Mace as having been blown violently 
from the hands of the Sergeant-at-Arms while he was vainly 
attempting to hide from the storm. A foe simile of this 
caricature will be found at the close of this chapter. 

When my attention was called to the publication I 
resolved to make the best possible use of it. A copy was 
procured and safely deposited in my desk. When Monday 
came I again addressed the Chair for recognition, and was 
refused. I then rose to a question of privilege, which, 
under the Rules, the Speaker was not at liberty to ignore. 
The Chair bade me state it. Holding up a copy of Har- 
per's, containing the caricature, I called attention to the 
fact that a leading journal of the country had grossly 
slandered the Speaker. That it represented him as stand- 
ing with his back to me, when in fact the most that he had 
ever done was to shut his eyes. At this juncture the 
following colloquy occurred: 

The Speaker: The gentleman from Iowa will address 
himself to the question of privilege, and not to the picture. 


Mr. Garfield, (addressing Mr. Weaver): Which figure 
represents yourself and which the Speaker? 

Mr. Weaver: I am represented by the one with long 
ears. Does not the gentleman know that Balaam's ass saw 
the angel in the way before his rider did? All Bible read- 
ers understand it perfectly. 

The Speaker demanded order, which was, after awhile, 
restored, and the struggle was passed for another week. 

Notwithstanding the protracted struggle over these reso- 
lutions the personal relations between their author and the 
Speaker were always cordial and friendly. Mr. Randall 
stated privately that his party did not, in the face of a 
Presidential election, wish to be placed upon record on what 
they regarded as mere abstractions, and for that reason 
recognition had been withheld. 

Finally about the first of April, it became apparent that 
the long contest would soon close. Rumors that recogni- 
tion would be conceded on the following Monday obtained 
among the Members and it was evident that the intimation 
had been given out by the Speaker himself. Then another 
dilemma presented itself. Under the rules a yea and nay 
vote could not be secured unless demanded by at least 
thirty members. As there were but thirteen of the National 
party in the House, the outlook for a record of the vote was 
exceedingly dark. In this emergency we went to Mr. 
Garfield and called attention to the fact that on the follow- 
ing Monday a vote would be taken. We stated that the 
Republican party was already on record against every 
proposition contained in the resolutions. That the Demo- 
cratic Members, when at home, generally favored the prop- 
ositions but always fought shy of them after reaching 
Washington. We asked him if he could not, in view of 
these facts, assist in securing a yea and nay vote? He 
replied that he would consult with his colleagues and give 
us an answer that afternoon. In the course of an hour he 


reported that his side of the House would join in the 
demand for a record of the vote. On the following Mon- 
day, April 5, I was recognized, made the necessary motion 
to suspend the rules and demanded that the vote be taken 
by yeas and nays. Upon statement of the demand by the 
Chair the Greenback members, General Ewing, of 
Ohio, and Mr. Tillman, of South Carolina, rose to their 
feet followed by the entire Eepublican side of the House. 
The yeas and nays were accordingly ordered. With the 
exception of General Ewing, Mr. Tillman, and possibly one 
or two others, every Democrat left the hall and repaired to 
the cloak rooms for consultation. On the first call of the 
roll but three or four Democrats responded, while the Re- 
publicans, with the exception of Belford, of Colorado, 
voted solidly in the negative. On the second call of the 
roll there were eighty- four ayes, and one hundred and 
seventeen noes. Not voting, 91. The yeas consisted of 
11 Greenbackers, including Stevenson and Kelly, one Ee- 
publican, Mr. Belford, and seventy-two Democrats, mostly 
from the South and West. The nays were composed of a 
solid Republican vote, with the exceptions stated, reinforced 
by eastern and middle states Democrats. Messrs Wright 
and Yocum were unavoidably absent, but paired in favor 
of the resolutions. 

We have given this memorable battle somewhat in 
detail for the reason that we regard it as the great initial 
struggle of the mighty movement now in progress through- 
out the Republic. The resolutions over which the pro- 
tracted contest arose embodied the very essence and marrow 
of the vigorous contention presented by organized labor at 
the present time. 

The Speaker should always be selected with reference to 
his views of public policy, but it is never any part of his 
duty to play the tyrant. It is not his province to originate 


political creeds, but to represent and to assist the law- 
making body to faithfully reflect the will of the great 
constituency. If nominated by a caucus, that caucus 
should have some test of membership besides that of mere 
party name. Every sensible person knows that a man may 
be an eminent and devoted Democrat or Republican, be 
entirely loyal to his party, and yet the world be profoundly 
ignorant concerning his views upon the most important 
questions of public concern. He may be the most pliant 
tool of monopoly and still be an acceptable and an un- 
usually influential member of either of said parties. It is 
well known that one of these parties has had no test of 
membership since the days of Jackson, and that the other 
has had none since the death of Lincoln. All that is 
necessary to become a member of either is to take upon 
yourself the party name. If you will but do that, you may 
retain your own notions of public affairs. Under this state 
of facts men holding to antagonistic creeds and policies 
unite in electing a Speaker, and in every such instance the 
people are crucified. The party is served but the country 
is betrayed. The organization is triumphant but human 
rights are placed at the mercy of the time-server and the 

The writer served in Congress under the Speakership of 
Mr. Randall and Mr. Carlisle. These eminent gentlemen, 
ranking equal in ability to an}' who have ever filled the 
Chair, were as wide apart as the poles upon what they re- 
garded as the supreme question of the period, Mr. 
Randall was an ultra-protectionist, while Mr. Carlisle 
flavored a tariff for revenue, with strong leanings toward 
free trade as soon as that policy can be safely reached. 
Both were Democrats and met in caucus upon terms of 
perfect equality. The monometalists and the bi-metalists, 
the bank men and the anti-bank men, monopolists and anti- 


monopolists, those who favored trusts and those who 
abhorred and would uproot them, the sharper from Wall 
street and the inexperienced Member from the rural dis- 
trct — all met in the same caucus, all were Democrats, and 
they united in selecting the man of their choice for 
Speaker, taking especial care not to provoke a disclosure 
on his part of an} r thing that he believed concerning public 

Parties which have no test of membership and caucuses 
which have no test of admission to their councils, are an 
abomination and they exist only for evil. 

It would more nearly comport with the dignity and 
character of our chief law-making body if the assignment 
of Members to committees were made by a well-guarded 
special committee, selected by the House itself — a com- 
mittee in which all parties and shades of opinion could be 
fairly represented. It is time the Speaker of the American 
House of Representatives should be shorn of his autocratic 
and unwarranted power. 


Article I, Section Y, of the Constitution contains the 
following provision: 

"Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, 
Returns and qualifications of its own Members, and a 
Majority of each shall constitute a Quorum to do business : 
but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day, and 
may be authorized to compel the Attendance of absenl 
Members, in such Manner, and under such penalties as 
each House may provide." 

Clause I, of Rule Yin, is as follows: 

"Every member shall be present within the hall of the 
House during its sittings unless excused or necessarily 
prevented; and shall vote on each question put, unless, on 
motion made before division or the commencement of the 
roll call and decided without debate, he shall be excused. 


or unless he has a direct personal or pecuniary interest in 
the event of such question." 

It has been uniformly held that a Quorum of the House 
consists of a majority of the Members chosen. And until 
the Fifty-first Congress it was further held that in order to 
constitute a Quorum a majority of the Members chosen 
must not only be present, but must participate in the vote, 
either for or against a proposition. 

In the Fifty-first Congress it was held by Speaker Reed 
that a majority of the Members chosen, if present in the 
hall when the vote was being taken, constituted a Quorum, 
whether a majority of them voted or not. That if, under 
such circumstances, a minority only voted, it was sufficient 
to pass a measure; and he accordingly instructed the Clerk 
to enter upon the Journal the names of the Members 
present but not voting, and declared the bills passed. The 
House, by a strict party vote, afterwards formally adopted 
the Speaker's construction and made it one of the rules for 
that Congress. Much bitterness was evoked by this con- 
struction of the law. Public opinion, and even experienced 
Parliamentarians were greatly at sea concerning the matter. 

It seems to the writer that careful reflection will show 
both the danger and the fallacy of Speaker Reed's con- 
struction. It is not required by the Constitution that a 
measure shall receive the affirmative vote of a majority of 
all the Members chosen in order that it shall pass. This 
rule generally obtains in State Assemblies under the pecu- 
liar provisions of their local Constitutions. But under the 
Constitution of the United States, a majority of a Quorum 
can pass a bill; and a Quorum is made up of both yeas and 
nays. Hence, under Speaker Reed's construction, if a 
bare Quorum be present, and but a minority vote in the 
affirmative, the others sitting mute, the bill is passed, even 
when the point that no Quorum has voted has been ex- 


"Greenback, the Weaver (from Iowa). 'I will sing, that they shall heai I 
am nut afraid." 

— Harp* is' PFeekly, March 6, 1880, 


pressly raised. If, imder the Constitution, the affirmative 
vote of a majority of the Members chosen were necessary 
to the passage of a bill, then those who are opposed to the 
measure could always vote with safety. But such is not 
the law ; and the only way the opposition can, in critical 
junctures, supply this defect is to refuse to vote. Those 
who desire to pass a measure which others regard as of 
doubtful propriety, should see to it that it has the affirma- 
tive support of a majority of all the Members chosen. If 
Mr. Heed's position be correct, one-fourth of the 333 mem- 
bers chosen to the present Congress (Fifty-second), can 
lawfully legislate. One hundred and sixty-seven of this 
number constitute a Quorum to do business. Hence, 84 
votes being the majority of a Quorum, although but a frac- 
tion over one-fourth of the Members chosen can, if 16T 
Members all told are at the time simply present in the hall, 
pass a bill, however vicious or important. And if 84 can 
lawfully legislate when the record shows that less than a 
Quorum have voted, why may not any number, however 
small, do so under like circumstances? The contention of 
Speaker Reed is clearly unconstitutional and subversive of 
the independence of the Members. It is equivalent to 
clothing the Speaker with the power of casting the vote of 
the delinquent Representative. 

It is conceded to be the plain duty of each Member to 
be present in the hall during the sittings of the House, and 
Rule 8, provides that each shall vote unless excused for the 
reasons stated. The rule was always a dead letter, for the 
reason that it could not, and in the opinion of the House 
ought not, to be inforced. In the course of business i£ 
often becomes the duty of a conscientious Member not to 
vote, the rule to the contrary notwithstanding. Indeed, he 
cannot do so without aiding the passage of bills which his 
sense of duty tells him should be defeated. Let us illus- 


trate: A pernicious measure is put upon its passage. The 
Member and his constituents regard it as positively vicious. 
A bare Quorum is present, a majority of which favors the 
bill. If a Quorum vote, a majority yea and the minority 
nay, the bill is passed. In such instances a nay vote 
operates to pass the bill. That is to say, the negative vote 
helps to make the Quorum, a majority of which secures the 
passage of the measure. To all intents and purposes the 
Member had as well voted yea. This is the old subterfuge 
that has been resorted to from time immemorial when a 
cunning Member really desired a bad measure to pass, and 
wished at the same time to keep his record straight before 
his constituents. Under such circumstances it will be 
readily seen that it becomes the duty of the Member to 
refrain from voting. His responsibility is to his constitu- 
ents and not to the House or the Speaker. Under Mr. 
Reed's rule, the simple discharge of his duty to be always 
present may aid in the passage of any measure, whether 
good or bad. 

It is not probable that this innovation upon the settled 
practice of the Century will ever again be adopted by the 
House of Representatives. It is easy enough to prescribe 
Rules which will restrain and limit the use of dilatory 
motions, without infracting the Constitution or destroying 
the independence of the Representative. 



In all ages of the world, from the earliest rudimentary 
organizations of society to the most powerful Nations of 
modern times, the Judicial power has been one of the most 
interesting and important features of human Government. 
Citizenship would be a delusion, personal security a myth, 
and the possession of private property but an invitation to 
pillage, were it not for the fidelity and incorruptibility of 
the Courts of justice. But it is not alone essential that our 
courts shall be pure in fact. The people must have an abid- 
ing faith in their integrity. Society becomes insecure in 
proportion as popular confidence is shaken in this respect. 
Deeply sensible of this important truth, it shall be our pur- 
pose to avoid all unnecessary criticism of the Federal 
Judiciary; but where, in our judgment, warning seems to 
be necessary, we shall endeavor to speak with proper tem- 
per, but nevertheless fearlessly and without reserve. Inas- 
much as the judicial power is co-ordinate with the other 
departments of Government, the method of selecting the 
members of the Court is of the highest importance. 

For a period of four hundred years, in ancient Home, the 
Praetor was chosen annually by the people, but the choice was 
restricted to the patrician order. At the close of the fourth 
century the office became accessible to the plebeians. In 
the ancient kingdom of Aragon the Justices were at first 
appointed and removed by the King at pleasure. But 
abuses of power were frequent, and hence, by a statute of 
Alphonso V. in 1442, it was provided that the Justices 
should continue in office during life, removable only on 


sufficient cause by the King and the Cortes united. (Pres- 
cott's Ferdinand and Isabella, I Vol., 108.) 

The English judges for centuries held their seats at the 
pleasure of the Crown. This is the case with the Lord 
Chancellor at the present day. But since William III. the 
Judges, following the Aragonese example, have held their 
places during good behavior, though subject to be removed 
upon the address of both houses of Parliament. This exam- 
ple has been followed by other Nations in Europe and was, 
as we shall see, after being stripped of its only redeem- 
ing feature, engrafted upon our American Judiciary. 

More than four hundred years have passed away since 
Alphonso was king of Aragon. America, the lost Atlantis, 
had not then been found; the art of printing, which has 
since transformed the world, had but just been discovered 
by Coster (1420-26). Guttenberg had not yet printed his 
Bible; nor had the now effulgent era of universal enlighten- 
ment, ushered in by the marvelous growth of printing, as 
yet dawned upon mankind. The American Declaration of 
Independence was not given to the world for more than 
three-quarters of a century after the accession of William 
III. A succession of eight Sovereigns have occupied the 
British throne since his day, and the last one has worn the 
crown for more than half a century. In the time of Will- 
iam the world knew nothing of the application of steam as 
a moving power, and all that was known of the telegraph 
was the vague hint of Gallileo. that there was a secret art 
by which persons distantly separated might converse with 
one another. Man is no longer the fierce, ungovernable 
being that he was four hundred, or even two hundred years 
ago. His manifold triumphs in science, in the useful arts, 
and in the domain of thought, have enabled him to achieve 
the greater victory over himself. He has become self- 
reliant, independent and generally law-abiding. 


The peculiar condition of society which existed in Aragon 
in 1442, and iD Briton the latter part of the seventeenth cen- 
tury, doubtless justified both the method of selecting the 
judges and the tenure by which they held their offices. The 
autocratic spirit among the reigning families was then a 
devouring flame. The spirit of violence was universal and 
pervaded the whole body of the people in every part of the 
old world, whilst popular virtue and intelligence were at 
zero. Under such conditions the life tenure was the only 
refuge from the fierce and brutal tyranny of the crown on 
the one side, and lawlessness among the masses on the 
other. But the spirit of Christianity has done its work, and 
there is now no good reason why enlightened America 
should longer follow these ancient examples drawn from 
the blood-stained annals of the remote past. 

Why should the American judiciary of to-day be 
exempted from elective control or hold their position 
for life? The idea was adopted in the old world, not 
because it was free from objection, but because it was less 
objectionable than any other under the peculiar circum- 
stances by which they were environed. The conditions 
which called for these so-called safeguards have vanished 
even there; but the evils inherent in the system still remain 
both here and abroad to curse mankind and imperil the 
safety of society. It is not probable that any representative 
body of men, chosen by the people of the United States 
to-day, would seriousl}- entertain a proposition to grant to 
our Supreme Court the powers now claimed by that tribunal. 
Nor would they for a moment think of appointing the 
judges for life. The growth of plutocratic spirit, the rapid 
rise of corporate influence, and the varied experiences of a 
Century under our Constitution, would imperatively forbid 
it. Power must of course be confided to human hands, but 
it is constant!}' subject to abuse. Those who exercise it 


should always be under the restraint of those from whom it 
was derived. Elective control is the only safeguard of lib- 
erty. If the history of the republics of the earth has in store 
for our race a single lesson of value, it is this. 

The learned Chancellor Kent, in his great work on Ameri- 
can law, attempts to justify the mode by which we select 
our Federal Judiciary and the tenure by which they hold 
their seats, by resorting to the following bit of casuistry: 
"But all plans of Government which suppose the people 
will always act with wisdom and integrity are plainly euto- 
pian and contrary to uniform experience. Governments must 
be formed for man as he is, and not as he would be if he were 
free from vice! " It does not seem to have occurred to the 
learned jurist that it is equally contrary to experience and 
fully as eutopian to suppose that our judges appointed for 
life will always act with wisdom and prudence. It is quite 
as important that Government should be formed for the 
judge as he is and not for the judge as he would be if 
he were free from the vices and passions incident to 
human nature. Besides, the people must touch their Gov- 
ernment at some point; and is it not probable that they 
would act with as much wisdom and prudence in selecting 
their Judiciary, were they permitted to do so, as they now 
do in selecting those with whom the appointing power 
is to reside? 

Our Federal Judicial system is remarkable and anoma- 
lous. It is lifted above both State and Federal governments, 
and is not responsible to either except in matters of personal 
misbehavior, or malfeasance in office, to aa extent that would 
render the individual judges liable to impeachment. Their 
method of appointment, freedom from responsibility, life 
tenure of office, exemption from the ordinary struggles 
common to human nature in the battle for bread, their arbi- 
trary and extraordinary power, tend, in this day and age, 


to separate thera entirely from the great body of the people 
and to impart growth and vigor to all the dangerous ele- 
ments of human nature. 

The Executive never consults popular sentiment in mak- 
ing his nominations. In practice it is rarely ever known 
who is to be chosen until the official notification is sent in 
to the Senate. When that body and the Executive are in 
political accord, confirmation, as a rule, follows quickly. 
When once confirmed, the wisdom of the appointment can 
never be reviewed. A member of this Court, appointed at 
the age of forty-five and serving until he is seventy, will 
witness twelve complete changes in the House of Repre- 
sentatives, four in the Senate, and six in the Executive. A 
whole generation may live, suffer and pass from the stage 
of action before the wrong inflicted by a bad appointment 
can be corrected, unless the legislative arm shall interpose. 
How strange that just at the point where we lodge the 
greatest power we should sever all connection with the 
people, who are the embodiment of Sovereignty and the 
fountain of all authority. We shall learn before we reach 
the close of this chapter that it is quite as important that 
popular liberty and the peace of society shall be protected 
from the inconsiderate, incompetent, rash and tyrannical 
tendencies inherent in our Court of Last resort, as it is that 
we should establish safeguards against the encroachments 
and infidelity of any other class of public servants. 

The Government of the United States is composed of 
three co-ordinate brandies, Legislative, Executive and 
Judicial. But the Legislative is sub-divided into two inde- 
pendent bodies — the Senate and the House of Representa- 
tives. To speak accurately then, Sovereignty with us has 
been divided into four parts, represented by the House, 
the Senate, the Executive and the Judiciary. It is a start- 
ling fact chat the people are only permitted to directly 


elect one out of the four, the House, while the other 
three-fourths are exempt from elective control and popular 
supervision. Should the reader insist that the Executive is 
chosen in fact, though not in form, by the people, the follow- 
ing figures will serve to fully dispel that illusion: In 1844 
Polk received less than fifty per cent of the popular vote, 
but 62 per cent of the Electoral vote. In 1848 Gen. Taylor 
received 47 per cent of the popular vote and 56 per cent of 
the Electoral vote. In 1852 Mr. Pierce received a small 
majority on the popular vote and 85 per cent of the Elec- 
toral vote. Mr. Buchanan in 1856 received but 45 per 
cent of the popular vote and 59 per cent of the Electoral 
vote. Mr. Lincoln received in 1860, 40 per cent of the 
popular vote and 59 per cent of the Electoral vote. In 
1864 he received 55 per cent of the popular vote and 91 
per cent of the Electoral vote. Gen. Grant in 1868, had 
57 per cent, and in 1872, 55 per cent; while in his first 
election he had 73 per cent and in his second 81 per cent 
of the Electoral vote. In 1876 Hayes had 49 per cent of 
the popular vote and 50|- per cent of the Electoral vote. 
Gen. Garfield had barely a majority of the popular vote 
but 60 per cent of the Electoral vote. Mr. Cleveland had 
48f per cent of the popular vote and 54f per cent of the 
Electoral vote. President Harrison had a fraction over 48 
per cent of the popular vote and 58i per cent of the Elec- 
toral vote. Prior to the year 1824 the Presidential electors 
were not chosen by the people but were selected by the 
State Legislatures, and since that time, as the reader is well 
aware, in a large majority of instances, the candidates 
selected for the Chief Magistracy by the National conven- 
tions of the old established parties, are generally desig- 
nated by a few skillful manipulators, after an understanding 
has been reached that the selection of the particular candi- 
date will inure to the special benefit of the combination, 


and not because of the fitness of the candidate for the high 
dnties of the office . So the fact remains beyond dispute 
that under our present s} r stem, three out of the four sub- 
divisions of Government are practically placed beyond the 
control of the multitude. It is creditable to the corpora- 
tions, that at every election for Members of the House of 
Representatives, they show some willingness to run an even 
race to see whether they or the people shall control the 
remaining one-fourth. 

Let us now proceed to inquire closely into the practical 
operation of our Judicial system and see if any dangerous 
tendencies have manifested themselves during the Century 
in which it has been upon trial. 


Under the kingly prerogatives of our Supreme Court, 
which will never willingly be surrendered, Congress may 
enact a law and, after the fullest consultation with his Con- 
stitutional advisers, the Executive may give it his approval, 
and yet a majority of the Judges of the Supreme Court 
may, and often do, assume to declare the joint and solemn 
act of the National Legislature and of the Executive to 
be null and void. The fact that both branches of Congress 
acting separately, the Executive and his Cabinet and the 
great body of the people before whom it may have been dis- 
cussed, have reached a different conclusion, does not in the 
least deter the Court from the exercise of this power. It was 
the boast of our fathers, as it has been the pride of their chil- 
dren, that we had gotten rid of that cruel fallacy of king- 
craft — " the King can do no wrong." But it seems that we 
have incarnated it, clothed it with the Ermine and given it 
an abiding place in our Federal Judiciary. 

The first term of the Supreme Court was held in New 
York, then the seat of the Federal Government, in the 
month of February. L790. As early as 1792, some of the 


Circuit judges had refused to comply with an early act of 
Congress, directing the Secretary of War to place upon the 
pension list the names of such disabled officers and soldiers 
as should be reported to him by the Circuit courts. The 
judges deemed the act unconstitutional and refused to cer- 
tify the names of the soldiers. But in 1S03, in the case of 
Maibury vs. Jas. Madison, the whole question of the 
authority of the court to declare an Act of Congress uncon- 
stitutional was elaborately reviewed by Chief Justice Mar- 
shall, who pronounced the unanimous opinion of the court. 
The question was with regard to a provision of the Act of 
Congress establishing the judicial system of the United 
States, which clothed the Supreme Court with authority to 
issue writs of mandamus to public officers. The object 
sought to be accomplished in this particular case was to 
compel James Madison, then Secretary of State, to deliver 
to Marbury his commission as justice of the peace, which 
had been signed by Thomas Jefferson, President of the 
United States, and placed in Mr. Madison's hands for 
delivery to Marbury, delivery having been refused for 
some reason. The learned Chief Justice declared that it 
was the prerogative and the duty of the Court to pass upon 
the constitutionality of the Acts of Congress, when properly 
raised, and then held that the act in question was repug- 
nant to the Constitution and therefore void. This early 
decision has been followed uniformly through subsequent 
years in a great variety of cases, until at present the power 
of the Court in this respect seems to be no longer ques- 
tioned. It is now imperium in imperio. The better doctrine, 
that the co-ordinate branches of the government are inde- 
pendent, possessing the right to interpret the Constitution 
for themselves, seems to have lost favor with both bar and 
bench. The safety of our modern progressive civilization 
calls aloud for a return to this construction of our funda- 


mental law, or at least for some modification of present 
judicial pretensions. 

The Federal Judiciary is co-ordinate, but should not be 
regarded as superior in authority to the other departments 
of Government. This is the only safe cannon of inter- 
pretation . 

Mr. Jefferson, as late as September 28, 1820, in a letter 
written to Mr. Jarvis, denies in the most emphatic manner 
that the framers of the Constitution ever intended or ever 
did clothe the Saprerne Court with any such power, and 
claimed that the exercise of such authority was a gross 
usurpation. He says: 

"You seem to consider the judges the ultimate arbiters 
of all constitutional questions; a very dangerous doctrine 
indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism 
of an oligarchy. Our judges are as honest as other men and 
not more so. They have, with others, the same passion 
for party, for power and the privilege of their corps. 
Their maxim is "boni judicis est ampliare jurisdictionem" 
and their power the more dangerous as they are in office 
for life, and not responsible, as the other functionaries are, 
to the elective control. The Constitution has enacted no 
such single tribunal, knowing that to whatever hands con- 
fided, with the corruption of time and party its members 
would become despots." (Yol. 7, page 177, of Jefferson's 

This distinguished statesman and philosopher further 
declares that the people themselves are the onty safe de- 
pository of the ultimate powers of society, and that in case 
either the Legislative or Executive functionaries act 
unconstitutionally, the people can rectify the abuse through 
the force of public opinion and at the ballot box. 

President Jackson vigorously asserted' the same doctrine 
in his message vetoing the bill to re-charter the United 
States Bank. The friends of the Bank claimed that the 
constitutional^ of the measure had been settled in their 


favor by a decision of the Supreme Court; that the question 
of expediency alone remained, concerning which the judg- 
ment of Congress must be held to be conclusive. The bill 
passed both branches of Congress by ver}' decided major- 
ities, but met with a prompt veto from the Executive and 
failed to become a law. Among the reasons given by 
President Jackson to justify the Executive action was the 
unconstitutionality of the proposed legislation. As to the 
conclusiveness of the decision of the Supreme Court upon 
the question, the President, says: "The Congress, the 
Executive and the Court, must each for itself be guided by 
its own opinion of the Constitution. * * * It is as 
much the duty of the House of Representatives, of the 
Senate and of the President, to decide upon the constitu- 
tionality of any bill or resolution which may be presented 
to them for passage or approval as it is of the Supreme 
Judges when it may be brought before them for judicial 
decision. The opinion of the Judges has no more authority 
over Congress than the opinion of Congress has over the 
Judges; and on that point the President is independent 
of both. The authority of the Supreme Court, must not, 
therefore, be permitted to control the Congress or the Ex- 
ecutive, when acting in their legislative capacity, but to 
have only such influence as the force of their reasoning 
may deserve." 

We believe that Jefferson and Jackson were sound in 
their contention, and this was the verdict of the people 
when they again elevated General Jackson to the Presi- 
denc} r at the succeeding election. The rugged utterances 
of these statesmen ring out to-day like a startling impeach- 
ment of our time. They comport with the dictates of 
enlightened judgment. There is enough in them to com- 
pletely transform and re-invigorate our present suppliant 
and helpless state of public opinion. These declarations 


were uttered in the purer days of the republic and before 
the various departments of Government had seriously felt 
the baleful and seductive influence of corporate wealth and 

Inasmuch as this assumption of power by the Court is 
now the settled doctrine, the necessity for careful scrutiny 
on the part of the people touching the personnel of the 
court and the tendency of its decisions, should be apparent 
to all. Children do not always inherit the rugged virtues 
of their ancestors, nor does it follow that a Court once dis- 
tinguished for its thorough sympathy with human liberty 
will always remain in like hands. 

Protracted and critical struggles among nations, and 
even between hostile dynasties or ruling families in the 
same country, always result not only in a general quicken- 
ing of human understanding, but in developing men of 
unusual genius to whom is imparted the Divine gift of 
kindling anew the nobler aspirations of the race. 

The mighty impulse imparted to parliamentary oratory 
in England during the struggles with Charles I, the upris- 
ing of the Commonwealth, under Cromwell, and the restora- 
tion of the monarchy, resulted during the subsequent reigns 
of George I and George II, as we are informed by Sir 
Archibald Alison, in giving to the world the transcendant 
talents of Walpole, Bolingbroke, Pulteney and Wyndham. 
This, however, was but the twilight. The resplendent 
noontide came with the accession of George III. During 
this reign there appeared a whole galaxy of stars who made 
the civilized world luminious with their matchless genius. 
As one English writer puts it, they addressed posterity as 
well as their own contemporaries. William Pitt stood at 
the head of this group. Next came his great rival, Mr. 
Fox; then Burke, Sheridan, Erskine, North, Weddeburn, 
Thurlow, Mansfield and Wilberforce. The new world felt 


their power; the iires of patriotic ambition were kindled in 
America, and soon there sprang upon the theater of action 
here a host of great statesmen, orators, jurists and captains, 
who astonished the world by their genius, inspired it with 
their courage and enlightened it by their learning. The 
force of their character changed the march of human affairs. 
They set in motion a tidal wave that swept through all the 
avenues of modern life. The impetus given to modern 
civilization b}' George Washington, John Hancock. John 
and Samuel Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, 
Benjamin Franklin, James Madison, George Mason, Alex- 
ander Hamilton, Robert and Gouveneur Morris, John Jay, 
John Marshall, the Pinkneys, and their corn-patriots, will 
continue to thrill the hearts and quicken the courage of 
men as long as liberty is loved and tyranny hated. It is 
true that widely different schools of thought and theories 
of Government were represented among these men, and 
the} r differed radically about many things, yet the whole 
world must admire their rugged character and appreciate 
the inestimable value of their great services to mankind. 
They possessed the ability to destroy, and they startled the 
world by the use they made of it. But their great genius 
was shown in their constructive force, which was simply 
without a parallel. 

Let us now proceed to other important considerations 
connected with this Tribunal. The members of this Court, 
as a rule, must necessarily be selected from among eminent 
members of the legal profession, actively engaged in prac- 
tice, or chosen from among those who have been elevated 
to the District or Circuit bench or to judicial positions in the 
States. The number from whom the selections might be 
made is reduced one-half from party considerations to 
begin with. Hence the President, with whom the nominat- 
ing power resides, is confined within very narrow limits 


when he makes his selections, and he is still further re- 
stricted b} T other considerations, which may hinder or 
accelerate confirmation by the Senate. 

For nearly a century two kindred inspirations held con- 
trol of the legal profession in America. These baptisms of 
fire antedated our present structure of Government and 
filled the whole bar with an exalted ambition — first, to be 
eminent in the profession ordained to aid in the proper 
administration of justice; and second, to enter the halls of 
legislation where they might serve the people and assist in 
the construction of a real Republic, wherein the chief solici- 
tude of all ages, libert} r , fraternity and justice among men, 
should be both practicable and real. 

At last, however, there came a falling away, and the rela- 
tion of the legal profession to the public began to show 
signs of change. We shall not undertake to trace the 
decline, for both its cause and its history are within the 
recollection of most of the present generation. The unhoty 
and lawless determination to acquire wealth and personal 
comfort at the expense of a weaker and less fortunate 
race, was the underlying spirit of slavery. The commer- 
cial and political importance of this institution soon became 
apparent and prominent. To be secure, its adherents con- 
tended that all branches of the Government should be con- 
trolled by the friends of that institution. Who will say that 
the contention was not logical? In fact such result was 
inevitable. It requires but a slight acquaintance with the 
history of our Federal judiciary to enable one to understand 
that when a given influence dominates the Legislative and 
Executive branches of the Government for any considerable 
period, the judiciary, even when free from external intrigue, 
is always brought into harmony with the influences which 
dominate the other co-ordinate branches. If the Legislative 
and Executive departments are held by a viril and rugged 


condition of public sentiment to a faithful discharge of their 
duties, the danger of the abuse of power by our autocratic 
Court becomes remote. But all history shows that when 
evil and despotic influences control the former, the tyranny 
of the court suddenly becomes intolerable; and the more 
30, for the reason that the judges are not subject to popular 
control. The slave oligarchy intrenched itself in the 
Supreme Court. In 1860, five out of the eight occupants of 
that bench were from slave holding States, namely: Wayne, 
of Georgia; Taney, of Maryland; Catron, of Tennessee; 
Daniel, of Virginia, and Campbell, of Alabama; and that 
fact had as much influence, if not more, than any other in 
precipitating the tremendous crisis which followed. The 
slave interest sought to make the Dred Scott decision the 
rule of political action for the people and all depart- 
ments of the Government. We need but glance at the 
great debates between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. 
Douglass, in 1858, and to recall the fierce political combats 
which took place in every part of the land between that date 
and the election of 1860, to understand the truth of the 
above statement. The people suddenly awoke to the fact 
that slavery had debauched the whole Government, includ- 
iug the Court of Last resort. In his great speech, delivered 
in reply to Mr. Douglass, at Springfield, Illinois, on the 
evening of July 17, 1858, Mr. Lincoln declared, "That 
one-half of Mr. Douglass' onslaught, and one-third of the 
entire plan of the campaign " grew out of the attitude of 
the Supreme Court. 

In fine this tribunal had completely blocked the way to 
freedom and enjoined the further march of civilization in 
the new world. Legislation could not reach the difficulty. 
Popular elections could not, for the reason that the Court 
was non-elective and held by the life tenure; amendment 
of the Constitution was out of the question, because of the 


attitude of the slave-holding states. There was no alter- 
native but the sword. We shall not lift the curtain which 
hides that bloody dranaa from the gaze of the present gen- 
eration. Let us hope that the atrocities connected with it 
may fade entirely from the memory of men and that the 
good evolved may flourish and bloom and fill the earth with 

We shall now proceed to show that in the very midst of 
the struggle for the overthrow of the slave oligarchy, our 
institutions were assailed by another foe mightier than the 
former, equally cruel, wider in its field of operation, infi- 
nitely greater in wealth, and immeasurably more difficult 
to control. It will be readily understood that we allude 
to the sudden growth of corporate power and its attendant 


Consequent upon the growth of this power, the relation of 
the legal profession to the people and to the administration 
of public justice has undergone a frightful change within 
the past twenty years. The phenomenal growth and exten- 
sion of corporate life, followed by the rapid concentration 
of wealth into a few hands, has lured the profession from 
its ancient paths, dampened its patriotic ardor, frozen the 
fountains of its eloquence, and diverted its attention from 
the ordinary emoluments of a laborious life and the 
meagre salaries of public positions, to the large and seduc- 
tive rewards to be obtained in the service of monopolies, 
corporations, trusts, syndicates and combines. The strong 
men and great lights of the profession are, to a large 
extent, captured by these influences as fast as they rise 
above the dead level of mediocrity, and thus the public 
service, the profession and the people are degraded, 
while corporate influence is exalted. It is well 


known also that very many universities, law colleges 
and other educational institutions of note have promi- 
nent railroad attorneys employed to instruct the youth 
of the country on corporation law, while many of our 
Chancellors and Regents are chosen from among the 
same class of minds. The dangers arising from this 
state of affairs are of the most serious character, and 
may well fill the public mind with gravest apprehension. 
The bench, both State and National, must be supplied from 
eminent members of the bar, and practically all the 
so-called distinguished members of the profession are in the 
service of the corporations. It does not necessarily follow 
that they are entitled to stand at the head by natural endow- 
ment, or mental and forensic training. They are given that 
position and hold it securely by the power of their clientage. 
The names of this class of attorneys are of course kept con- 
stantly before the appointing power. They are the Levit°s 
of the profession, set apart and consecrated expressly for ser- 
vice upon the Federal Bench, and are ever looking forward 
and yearning for promotion. How can we construct a safe 
building from unsound timber? When we shall most need 
it as a refuge from the storm, it will prove to be our great- 
est point of danger, and fall upon and crush us. The 
corporations are not only able to employ the ablest talent, 
but to back their attorneys with unlimited resources. They 
can enable them to travel at trifling expense, open to them 
the columns of the press, and grant them the free use of the 
telegraph to summon assistance at the critical moment. 
That these, and kindred influences, have thus been enabled 
for a score of years, to exercise almost unlimited control over 
the Legislative and Executive branches of the Government 
is too well established to be denied by intelligent and can- 
did men. That they have made serious inroads upon every 
branch of our Judiciary, and are now stealthily making still 


further and greater efforts to obtain complete and, as far 
as this generation is concerned, permanent control of oui 
Court of Last resort, is a truth well known to all whose eyes 
and ears are open to what is going on about them. Indeed, 
it is believed that they have already practically accom- 
plished their purpose. 


Early in the month of June, 1880, and only a few days 
prior to the assembling of the nominating convention of the 
National party at Chicago, the Hon. David Davis, Hon. E. 
H. Gillette, and the writer, had a protracted conversation at 
Washington, concerning the political situation. Mr. Davis 
was then a member of the United States Senate from Illi- 
nois. Previous to entering that body he had served upon 
the Supreme Bench for a period of fifteen years. He was 
a conservative man of great ability, extensive experience 
and wide range of information. His opinions on all ques- 
tions were judicially formed and cautiously expressed. In 
former years he had enjoyed the companionship of Mr. 
Lincoln, had been his law partner, was appointed by him 
in 1862 to the Supreme Bench, and was finally the exec- 
utor of the martyred President's estate. Roscoe Conkling, 
in a speech delivered in the Senate, once said of him: 

"When the Musselman prays he turns his face to Mecca. 
When I speak of the law I cannot resist the temptation to 
address myself to the most eminent and learned jurist in 
the Senate, a man who left the highest judicial tribunal in 
the world to give this body the honor of his presence and 
the benefit of his wisdom." 

It was hoped that Judge Davis would consent to become 
the candidate of the third party for the Presidency, and 
such was the earnest desire of Mr. Gillette and the 
writer. Mr. Davis was aware of our preference for him. 
and the conference above alluded to was concerning: that 


matter. It occurred in one of the Committee rooms of the 
House of Representatives and lasted for about three hours. 
The Republican convention was then in session at Chi- 
cago, and the ballotting was in progress. Judge Davis 
opened the conversation by stating that he felt grateful 
for the mention of his name as the candidate of the 
industrial people, and was in accord with most of their 
purposes; but that he was not in a situation to accept 
the nomination and must decline, and we were instructed 
to see that his name was not placed before the convention. 
We plead with him to yield, but without avail. The matter 
of his candidacy being disposed of, the Judge proceeded to 
state his views of the situation. He said the people did not 
know, nor were they in .a situation to understand the 
extreme perils which were impending over the Republic. 
"The rapid growth of corporate power, of all classes and 
grades," said he, "and their corrupting influence at the 
Seat of Government; their overshadowing influence among 
party managers, from county primaries to National Conven- 
tions, fill me with apprehension. No man is wise enough 
to foretell what the end will be." He then alluded to his 
long service upon the Supreme Bench, and said it was evi- 
dent that the corporations were maturing their plans to gain 
complete control of the Supreme Court; that his extensive 
acquaintance with the great corporation lawyers and his 
daily contact with public men gave him a thorough knowl- 
edge of what was going on, and he remarked, "If I were 
"blind I could still hear enough to alarm me. It is not 
"lawful for me to utter many things which I have heard, 
"because I get them in my private and confidential rela- 
tions every day; but this is my chief concern. If we lose 
"the Courts, we lose all." The Judge further stated that it 
evident'y was the purpose in certain circles to overthrow 
the Legal Tender decision, the Thurman Act concerning 


the Pacific Railroads, and the Grange decisions of 1876, 
and that he felt deeply concerned in consequence. These 
were not the words of an alarmist; on the contrary, they 
expressed the sober judgment of an eminent statesman and 
jurist, who had been upon the Supreme Bench himself for 
half a generation. 

Let us now inquire whether the fears of Judge Davis 
were well founded. It will be remembered that the conver- 
sation which is substantially given above, occurred in June, 

1880. Since that time the following changes in the per- 
sonnel of the court have taken place: Nathan Clifford, of 
Maine, died in 1881, and was succeeded by Horace Gray, 
of Massachusetts. Noah H. Swayne, of Ohio, retired in 

1881, and was 'succeeded by Stanley Matthews, of Ohio. 
Ward Hunt, of New York, retired in 1882, and was suc- 
ceeded by Samuel Blacthford, of New York. William 
Strong, of Pennsylvania, resigned in 1880, and was suc- 
ceeded by W. B. Woods, of Georgia, who died in 1887, 
and was succeeded by L. Q. C. Lamar, of Mississippi. 
Chief Justice Waite, of Ohio, died in 1888, and was suc- 
ceeded by Chief Justice Fuller, of Illinois. Stanley Mat- 
thews, of Ohio, died in 1889, and was succeeded by David 
Brewer, of Kansas. Justice Miller, of Iowa, died in 1890, 
and was succeeded by Mr. Justice Brown, of Michigan. 
We wish it clearly understood that we do not call in ques- 
tion, in the slightest degree, either the personal or official 
integrity of the members of this important tribunal. In its 
personnel, the old court of ante-bellum days was beyond 
reproach. No one has ever seriously questioned that fact. 
And yet we all now know that they were as clay in the 
hands of the potter, and were moulded at will by the slave 
power. The professional life of the members of that court 
had budded, grown and ripened under the transforming but 
baleful influence of slavery. When they reached their 


exalted position upon the bench their perverted judgment 
and misguided conscience united to impel them to block 
the way of freedom. The sword came and emancipated 
both the slave and the Court. The American people are 
now passing through a similar experience. The patronage, 
influence and power of the slave oligarchy were mere trifles 
compared with the corporate dominion of the present day. 
The social, political and financial strength of the corpora- 
tions unite to make their influence infinitely greater in Amer- 
ican society than that of the slave power ever was, even in 
the days of its greatest ascendency. The corporation has sub- 
merged the whole country and swept everything before it. 
In the glacial period, geologists tell us, the icebergs lifted 
the solid granite boulders from their resting places in the 
north, bore them southward and dropped them upon what 
are now our western prairies, where they will forever 
remain as monuments of the elemental conflicts of that far 
off age. The deep lines and scratches across their faces tell 
us the course of the current which submerged and carried 
them away. They were borne along by superior force. 
They were finally released when the ice melted beneath the 
genial rays of the sun. The corporation glacier is now 
sweeping over this country and lifting out of place the 
solid granite of our Judiciary and threatening to carry 
away the very pillars of the Republic. But the light of 
unclouded public opinion is shining full orbed upon the sit- 
uation, and ere long, it is hoped, the iceberg will melt 
tinder the fervent heat of well directed investigation and 
our great Court be permitted to settle back upon the pedestal 
of the Constitution, to remain forever as the hope and 
refuge of the people. 

The election of Mr. Garfield took place in JNovember, 1880. 
On the 26th day of January following President Hayes 
sent to the Senate the name of Stanley Matthews, of Ohio, 


for Associate Justice, to succeed Noah H. Swayne, retired. 
As Mr. Matthews was known to be a prominent corpora- 
tion lawyer, the appointment was a sudden surprise to the 
country, and met with strong opposition in the Senate and 
very damaging criticism elsewhere. Many of the leading 
anti-monopoly journals openly characterized the appoint- 
ment as a shameful disregard of public opinion and a gross 
betrayal of the people. Mr. Matthews, while filling the unex- 
pired term of Mr. Sherman in the Senate had, with great 
skill and adroitness, opposed the passage of the Thurman act, 
touching the Pacific railroad indebtedness, on the ground, as 
he claimed, of its repugnance to the Constitution. The oppo- 
sition to tins appointment was led in the Senate by David 
Davis, Allen G. Thurman, Mr. Edmunds, and General 
Logan. It is understood, however, that Mr. Edmunds' 
opposition was caused by his desire to secure the appoint- 
ment for a friend in his own State. The friends of Mr. 
Matthews were not strong enough to force confirmation. 
Senators Ingalls and Lamar were the only members of the 
Judiciary Committee who favored it. The nomination 
lapsed. Then came the inauguration of Mr. Garfield, fol- 
lowed by the usual extraordinary session of the Senate 
On the 12th of March the newly installed President again 
sent to the Senate the name of Mr. Matthews. Senators 
Davis, Thurman and Logan were still firm in their opposi- 
tion. Protracted delay followed, and confirmation seemed 
for a while decidedly doubtful. Fiually, after much delay, 
on the 12th day of May, just sixty days after the name of 
Mr. Matthews had been sent in for the second time, he was 
confirmed by a vote of 22 yeas, 21 nays. The public 
prints were full of uncomplimentary statements concerning 
methods made use of to secure confirmation, but it is foreign 
to our purpose to reproduce them here. We shall not stop 
to question either the motives of the two Presidents or the 


integrity of the appointee. The point we insist upon is 
this : the nomination of Mr. Matthews was in defiance of 
public opinion. This was clearly shown by the protest 
which followed and by the fact that it was at first practically 
rejected by the Senate. And we submit in all candor, that 
after the nomination had once lapsed in the face of the 
great popular opposition which it had evoked, proper defer- 
ence to the well defined state of public opinion should have 
prevented the incoming President from again forcing the 
nomination upon the Senate and the country. This is a 
representative case, and it affords the reader a clear view of 
the influences which shape and control the most important 
affairs of our Kepublic. It is clear that there is some power 
in this country which is above the Government and more 
authoritative than public opinion, and which can exert 
itself successfully at critical moments in high places. A 
child can tell what that power is. It is the omnipresent, 
omnipotent corporation. It is the same old malevolent, 
insidious influence of organized oligarchy — of plutocratic 
power — and it is now asserting itself for the second time 
within the memory of the present generation. The pirate 
plunders by violence. The burglar enters your house pre- 
pared to take life if he cannot otherwise escape. But the 
corporation plunders by the permission or through the 
agency of the State, and to cut off all hope of redress they 
seize upon the courts, which constitute the only hope and 
refuge of an oppressed people this side of revolution. 
Organized wrong understands well the value of the courts 
of a country, and particularly of the Courts of last resort. 
Hence they look well to the appointing power. On the 
other hand, the people seem to be unmindful of everything 
pertaining to their welfare, and they suffer uncomplain- 
ingly until peaceful redress becomes well nigh impossible. 
The old Court, under the influence of the oligarchy of that 


day, went to the extreme of deciding, in effect, that the 
Constitution was a skillfully constructed web of clanking 
slave chains, rather than a bristling panoply of freedom. 
But an obsequious Judiciary and a perverted Constitution 
could not, at that time, stay the onward march of freedom 
nor hold even a weak and disfranchised race in bondage. 
And should the new Oourt encounter the storm center of 
public opinion, now rapidly forming, it will be as chaff 
before the gale. 


On the 22d day of March, 1887, Mr. Lamar, then Secre- 
tary of the Interior, directed the Commissioner of the Gen- 
eral Land Office, Gen. Sparks, to cause a grant of land 
in Wisconsin, made to the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis 
<fc Omaha Railwaj^, and its branch line, to be adjusted ; 
and further directed the Commissioner to transmit to the 
Secretary for approval, proper lists of lands selected by 
said Company as indemnity lands, in lieu of lands which 
had been granted to them, but of which they had been 
deprived by the act of the Government. This was provided 
for in the grant. 

The original act granting lands to this Company was 
passed in 1856, and granted six alternate sections to the 
mile on each side of the road. The act of May 5, 1864. 
increased the grant to ten sections per mile. The acts 
provided in substance, that if the Government had, prior 
to the passage of this grant to the railroads, disposed of any 
of the lands embraced within the limits of this grant, said 
lands were to be excluded from the operation of the act 
except as to right of way, and should not be affected by it 
but remain as though no grant had ever been made. The 
task before the Commissioner of the General Land Office 
seemed easy enough. For all lands of which the railroad 


had been deprived by act of the Government, between the 
date of the grant and the definite location of the line of the 
road, they were to be allowed to select other lands. For 
lands which the Government had disposed of before Con- 
gress made the grant, they could not have other lands. 
The Supreme Court, in an able opinion delivered by David 
Davis, in the Leavenworth, Lawrence & Galveston, E,. R. 
92 U. S., 733, had held in 1875, that the road could not 
have indemnity for lands which had been disposed of prior 
to the date of the grant, and which were excluded from the 
grant by the terms thereof. "With this decision and the 
granting act before him, Gen. Sparks proceeded to adjust 
this Wisconsin grant. He found that the Government 
had, prior to the date of the grant to the railroad company, 
appropriated about seventy-four thousand acres embraced 
within the limits of the grant. He very properly held that 
inasmuch as these seventy-four thousand acres had never 
been given to the corporation, but on the contrary, had at 
a prior date been set apart for other purposes, the cor- 
poration was not entitled to indemnity. Having never 
been granted, there had been no loss ; and having been no 
loss there could be no indemnity. The adjustment and 
list were duly certified to Secretary Lamar for his approval. 
The Secretary promptly reversed the decision of the Com- 
missioner and held that the corporation was entitled to 
select indemnity lands, in lieu of the seventy-four thousaud 
acres with which the Government had parted prior to the 
passage of the act, and in his decision he stated that the 
opinion of the Supreme Court, before referred to, as deliv- 
ered by David Davis, in the L. L. & G, case, had been 
overruled, and that if it had not been overruled it was dic- 
tum. A subsequent decision in*what is known as the Bar- 
ney case, 113 U. S., 618, was referred to as authority for 
his ruling. 


The two cases were radically different as to the questions 
of law and fact involved. It is a notable fact that Field, 
Swayne and Strong had dissented from the opinion of the 
Court in the L. L. & G. case, and that Field delivered the 
opinion in the Barney case. It is evident therefore that 
Secretary Lamar regarded Judge Davis' majority opinion 
as unsound, and the dissenting opinion of Justice Field as 
the correct statement of the law. 

This difference of opinion concerning the proper con- 
struction of the law applicable to the Wisconsin case led to 
a misunderstanding between Secretary Lamar and Mr. 
Sparks, Commissioner of the General Land Office, which 
caused the latter to resign. Their respective views of the 
law were irreconcilable. 

Shortly after Congress convened in December, 1887, the 
President nominated Mr. Lamar as Justice of the Supreme 
Court to succeed Justice "Woods, of Georgia, deceased, and 
he was accordingly, after considerable delay, confirmed by 
the Senate. Mr. Lamar, during the pendency of his nom- 
ination in the Senate, resigned as Secretary of the Interior. 
But before doing so removed from office Mr. J. W. Le- 
Barnes, the Law Clerk of the Department, who concurred 
in General Sparks' opinion of the law in the case above 
named. We do not call in question the good faith of Mr. 
Lamar, nor the motives of the President in making the 
appointment- But here was a grave public question, con- 
cerning which the members of the Supreme Court were 
themselves at variance. The land grant companies were 
interested in securing the appointment of a member of the 
Court whose construction of the law would give them the 
largest amount of land. The people were interested in hav- 
ing Judge Davis' decision, which construed the grants 
strictly, sustained. 

Let us notice for a moment the magnitude of this single 


victory over the people. First, the railroad company 
secured seventy-four thousand acres of land more than the 
Commissioner thought they were entitled to ; second, they 
secured the removal of the Commissioner of the General 
Land Office, whose brusk honesty brought him into conflict 
with their nefarious schemes ; third, they secured the 
removal of Law Clerk, LeBarnes, who was a serious 
obstacle in their way ; fourth, they overthrew the David 
Davis decision in the L. L. & G. case, and secured the 
adoption of a rule, which, when applied to all other grants, 
as it has since steadily been, gives them probably ten mil- 
lion acres more than they could have obtained under the 
old rule. These ten million acres are worth to them at least 
one hundred million dollars. 

"While the confirmation of the ex-Secretary was hanging 
fire in the Senate, as we are informed by Gen. Sparks, the 
force in the railroad division of the General Land Office 
was kept busy, almost day and night, issuing patents for 
the lands covered by this decision ; and the lady who signs 
the President's name to the patents was sent for after night 
to affix the Executive signature to the patents which con- 
veyed this land to the railroads. This episode illustrates 
with tremendous force the danger inherent in the method of 
selecting the members of this great Court. 

Reader, I think you will agree with us that David Davis 
had an accurate understanding of what was going on! 


The members of this tribunal whose terms are likely 
to extend into the future for a considerable period are : 

Chief Justice Fuller, aged 57, appointed 1888. 
Justice Harlan, aged 57, appointed 1877. 
Justice Gray, aged 62, appointed 1881. 
Justice Lamar, aged 65, appointed 1888. 
Justice Brewer, aged 54, appointed 1890. 
Justice Brown, aged 55, appointed 1891. 


The other members have already reached that age in 
life (70) and have served the period (10 years) which 
entitles them to retire on full pay, to-wit: 

Justice Field, aged 74, appointed 1863. 
Justice Bradley, aged 76, appointed 1870. 
Justice Blatchford, aged 70, appointed 1882. 

In the natural course of human life and strength, it may 
be calculated with certainty that the three Associate Jus- 
tices last named, have but a brief period of service before 
them. Their time is limited by a decree that is final, and 
cannot be reversed. It is then among the certainties of 
the future that the present administration and the one to 
immediately follow — most likely the former — will be 
called upon to choose at least three new members of the 
Supreme Bench. In view of the important issues which 
are now agitating the public mind, the certainty of an 
early re-construction of the Court brings the Republic 
to the very brink of an absorbing crisis, the importance of 
which can not be over-estimated. When, in the last great 
juncture, the public mind came to realize that the Supreme 
Court had been completely subjugated by the slave power, 
troublous times were near at hand. When the Court 
succumbed, freedom felt that she had lost her last citadel 
and was compelled to fall back upon the people for safety. 
But the present peril is infinitely greater than the former. 
Slavery was restricted within narrow geographical limits 
and the visible manifestations of the evil were repulsive 
and hateful to all who were removed from its immediate 
influence. Not so with the present foe of justice and social 
order. It assails the rights of man under the most seduct- 
ive guise. You meet it in every walk of life. It speaks 
through the press, gives zeal and eloquence to the bar, 
engrosses the constant attention of the bench, organizes 
the influences which surround our legislative bodies and 


courts of justice, designates who shall be the Regents and 
Chancellors in our leading Universities, determines who 
shall be our Senators, how our legislatures shall be organ- 
ized, who shall preside over them and who constitute the 
important committees. It is imperial in political caucases, 
without a rival in social circles, endows institutions of 
learning, is in daily contact with all important business 
interests, disburses monthly large sums of money to an 
army of employes, has unlimited resources of ready cash, 
is expert in political intrigue and pervades every commun- 
ity from the center to the circumference of the Republic. 


It will be remembered that the decisions of the Court 
upon the so-called "Granger Laws" of Iowa, Illinois and 
Wisconsin were delivered in 1876. In these opinions the 
majority of the Court sustained the power of State Legisla- 
tures to prescribe maximum rates of charges for the trans- 
portation of freight and passengers on the various roads 
within these States. (See the Chicago, Burlington & 
Quincy Railroad Company vs. Iowa, 94 TJ. S., 155; Chi- 
cago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway Company vs. Ackley, 
94 U. S. , 179 ; Peik vs. Chicago & Northwestern Railway 
Company, and Lawrence vs. same company, 94 U. S. , 164, 
Field and Strong dissenting. ) These cases were all argued 
at the same time, presented the same questions and were 
decided at the same term. The questions of the right of 
the State to regulate the rates of fares and tolls on rail- 
roads, and how far that right is affected by the com- 
merce clause of the Constitution of the United States were 
presented to the Court. It was ably and confidently con- 
tended by Hon. William M. Evarts, John W. Cary and 
associate counsel for plaintiffs in error, that the laws of 
Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota were void for two 
reasons : 


First — They were in violation of that clause in the Fed- 
eral Constitution which forbids a State to pass any law 
impairing the obligation of contracts, and also in violation 
of that clause which forbids a State to pass any law which 
deprives any person of his property without due process of 
law. That in view of these provisions of the fundamental 
law, the question of what is a reasonable compensation for 
the transportation of passengers or freight is one calling for 
judicial determination and cannot be settled by the Legis- 

Second — That the State statutes in question attempted to 
regulate inter-state commerce, and for that reason were 
unconstitutional, being in conflict with the commerce clause 
of the Constitution. 

The opinion in these cases was by Chief Justice Waite. 
In the case of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Kailroad 
Company vs. Iowa, supra, the Chief Justice says: "Rail- 
road companies are carriers for hire. They are incorporated 
as such, and given extraordinary powers, in order that they 
may better serve the public in that capacity. They are, 
therefore, engaged in a public employment affecting the 
public interests, and * * * subject to Legislative 
control as to their rates of fare and freight, unless protected 
by their charters." In Peik vs. C, B. & Q. Ry., 94 U. S., 
page 178, the Chief Justice uses the following language : 
"Where the property has been clothed with a public inter- 
est, the Legislature may fix a limit to that which shall in 
law be reasonable for its use. This limit binds the Court as 
well as the people. If it has been improperly fixed, the 
Legislature, not the courts, must be appealed to for the 

In the case of the C. M. & St. P. vs. Ackley, supra, the 
Chief Justice says: "The only question presented by this 
record is whether a railroad company in "Wisconsin can 


recover for the transportation of property more than the 
maximum fixed by the Act of March 11, 1874, by showing 
that the amount charged was no more than a reasonable 
compensation for the services rendered. * * * As 
between the company and the freighter there is a statutory 
limitation of the charge for the transportation actually per- 
formed. The limit of the recovery is that prescribed by 
the statute." 

There was still another decision in Munn & Scott vs. 
Illinois, 94 U. S., 113, which establishes the doctrine that 
a state may constitutionally prescribe elevator charges for 
the storage of grain, notwithstanding they are used by 
those engaged in inter-state as well as state commerce. In 
these instances the state had fixed the maximum rates and 
had forbidden the roads and the owners of the elevators to 
charge more under penalty. The court declared the laws 
to be in harmony with the constitution. The railroads con- 
tended earnestly that the question whether certain rates 
fixed by them were reasonable or excessive, was a question 
of fact which could not be settled by legislation but must 
be determined by the courts after judicial investigation had 
in conformity with the constitution which declares that no 
person shall be deprived of his property without due pro- 
cess of law. But the majority of the court, as we have 
seen, held that the interest was of a public nature and that 
this clause of the constitution did not apply. 

When these opinions were announced by the majority of 
the court, Mr. Justice Field filed a dissenting opinion for 
himself and Justice Strong, in which, speaking of the decis- 
ion of the majority, he says: 

"That decision in its wide sweep, practically destroys all 
of the guaranties of the Constitution and of the common 
law invoked by counsel for the protection of the rights of 
railroad companies. Of what avail is the Constitutional 


provision that no State shall deprive any person of his 
property except by due process of law, if the State can, by 
fixing the compensation which he may receive for its use, 
take from him all that is valuable in the property? To 
what purpose can the constitutional prohibition upon the 
State against impairing the obligation of contracts be 
invoked, if the State can in the face of a charter authorizing 
a company to charge reasonable rates, prescribe what shall 
be deemed reasonable for services rendered ? That decision 
will justify the legislature in fixing the price of all articles 
and fixing the compensation for all services. It sanctions 
intermeddling with all business and pursuits and property 
in the community, leaving the use and enjoyment of prop- 
erty and the compensation for its use to the discretion of 
the legislature." 

These decisions were all by a divided court. Only one 
of the judges who concurred in the majority opinion 
(Judge Bradley) is now upon the bench; seven of the pres- 
ent members having been appointed since that time. Will 
any sane man believe for one moment that the corporations 
were asleep while this court was being reconstructed? Not 
a single appointee escaped their scrutiny. They watch the 
tottering frames of the members of this tribunal with a 
solicitude equal to that which animates the unfilial spend- 
thrift who feels hampered by the longevity of his rich 

Mr. John W. Gary, of Milwaukee, who is general at- 
torney for the C, M. & St. P. Railroad, represented that 
company in the Ackley case and was deeply disappointed 
in the decision of the court. In an article published over 
his own signature in the Daily Sentinel of Milwaukee, 
March 5, 1888, twelve years after these important decisions 
were rendered, he boldly asserts that the "Granger" decis- 
ions must be overthrown, and exults that there were at the 
date of his letter but four judges (there were but three) 
upon the bench who participated in them. There is now 


but one. In these utterances he doubtless voiced the 
wishes of the whole array of corporation magnates and 
their host of legal advisers throughout the Union. Mr. 
Cary was well aware that they had, except as to the power 
of state Legislatures to fix maximum rates for purely state 
traffic, already been overthrown in the Wabash case. He 
knew too that other cases were then in preparation which 
would sweep away the last vestage of these decisions. It 
was Mr. Cary's knowledge of the movements in corpora- 
tion circles which enabled him to asssume the role of the 
prophet. Of course he was not speaking for himself 
but for his masters. It was not the voice of a man 
and a citizen, but it was a vengeful proclamation of war 
against an unsuspecting people who were fondly dreaming 
that since their great Court had spoken in the "Grange" 
decisions their rights were secure and that these great 
questions were forever settled. But Mr. Cary and his 
clients were looking forward to a change in the personnel of 
the Court through the visitations of time and the ravages of 
death. They had been vanquished but not conquered. 
They proposed to transfer the battle to the future and to 
trust for final victory through an insidious, quiet and 
treacherous reformation of the Court. By referring to the 
sub-division of this chapter entitled "Instability of Judicial 
Opinion and the Resulting Evils," the reader will learn 
how far the vengeful prediction of Mr. Car}' has been 


The act of congress, known as the " Thurman Act," 
approved May 7th, 1878 (20 stat., 56), required the Union 
Pacific Railroad Company, in the management of its 
affairs, to set aside a portion of its current income as a 
sinking fund to meet the mortgage debts of the company, 


when they mature. Included among these debts is the 
second mortgage lien held by the United States, which now 
amounts to about $130,000,000. The law was finally 
assailed by the railroad interests as being unconstitutional, 
in that it deprived the company of its property without 
due process of law, and was an unwarranted interference 
with vested rights. 

Cases were hurriedly prepared for the Court of claims 
and in the Circuit Court of the United States for the dis- 
trict of California. On appeal to the Supreme Court they 
were advanced to a speedy hearing. In October, 1878, the 
Court declared the act constitutional. (99 U. S., 700.) But 
the judges were divided in opinion. Five of them upheld 
the law, while Justices Field, Strong and Bradley dissented. 
Chief Justice Fuller now occupies the place then held by 
Waite, Justice Lamar that held by Strong, Justice Brewer 
the seat then occupied by Judge Swayne, and Justice 
Brown that held by Miller. 

Justice Lamar served in the Senate with Stanley Matthews, 
was aware of his hostility to the Thurman Act on the 
ground of its alleged unconstitutionality, and notwithstand- 
ing that fact he was ardently in favor of the confirmation 
of Mr. Mathews, by the Senate, and stood by him in the 
committee and on the floor until the contest reached a 
favorable termination. It is fair to conclude that he shared 
Mr. Mathews', opinions concerning the Thurman Act. 
Chief Justice Fuller's opinion upon the subject must be left 
to conjecture. Justice Brewer succeeds Matthews and is a 
nephew of Justice Field. It is quite safe to assume that 
the dissenting judges have not lost in numbers by the late 

Knowing that the corporations were exceedingly watch- 
ful, active and persistent when Matthews was appointed, it 
is but fair to conclude that all the late appointments met 


with closest scrutiny in corporation circles long before the 
public even heard that their appointment was contemplated. 
The overthrow of the Thurman Act is as important to- 
da} r to the parties who then desired it as it was when first 
enacted, or when Matthews was appointed. There is not 
the slightest evidence of a relaxed purpose or effort in this 

We cannot better illustrate the stealthy intrigue con- 
stantly employed b} 7- corporate interests to control every 
branch of our Federal judiciary, than by calling to mind 
some events which have taken place during the past ten 
years within the Eighth Judicial Circuit, which is made up 
of the districts of Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, 
Arkansas, Nebraska and Colorado. In the year 1869, 
Judge John F. Dillon, of Iowa, was appointed for this 
circuit. He served ten years and resigned, ostensibly to 
accept position as professor of Real Estate and Equity 
Jurisprudence in the Columbia law school, but really to 
accept the position of chief counsellor of the Union Pacific 
railroad, with his office at Boston. A number of appli- 
cants sprang up of course, for the vacancy, but the contest 
soon narrowed down to Judge Brewer, of Kansas, and the 
Hon. George W. McCrary, of Iowa, then Secretary of. War 
in the cabinet of President Hayes. Justice Miller and the 
Iowa delegation in Congress strongly urged the appoint- 
ment of McCrary, while Justice Field, backed by strongly 
organized influence, was active for his nephew, Judge 
Brewer. Judge Brewer's mother was a sister of Justice 
Field, and her distinguished son was born abroad while the 
parents were temporarily absent from the United States. 
The contest became animated to such an extent that the 
relations between Justices Field and Miller became some- 
what strained. McCrary, however, was appointed and 


McCrary was a splendid type of American manhood. 
He rose to fame and position upon his own inate ability, 
rugged character and acknowledged integrity. His sympa- 
thies were all with the poor, the lowly and the oppressed. 
He was gnarly timber for the corporations to operate upon. 
His keen insight and breadth of mind carried him directly 
to the marrow of every question which he undertook to 
investigate ; and after he had applied his powers of analysis 
to the matter in hand, there was little room left for contro- 
versy. The new appointee was far from satisfactory to the 
corporations. As Judges, Dillon and McCrary were not 
satisfactory to the corporation magnates. 

Judge McCrary served about three years and resigned 
to take employment as general consulting counsel for 
the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway Company, 
with a liberal salary, compared with that which he received 
as Circuit Judge. The contract ran for five years, and he 
was located at Kansas City. The transaction provoked 
very considerable comment in professional circles at the 
time, but its significance did not attract general public 
attention. How remarkable that these Judges, serving 
from the same State ; one the successor of the other in the 
same circuit, should both suddenly become so essential to 
the business interests of the corporations ! Their great 
value as legal advisors had not attracted railroad interests 
until they reached the bench. From that hour the import- 
ance of their services was beyond computation and must be 
secured at whatever cost. Enormous salaries were prof- 
fered. Ample fortune, to be earned in a brief term of 
years, and the comforts which it confers, were placed along- 
side of a laborious life upon the bench and these gentlemen 
resigned. Can there be a doubt about the underlying 
motives which caused these railroad interests to bid for the 
services of these gentlemen? The corporations were not 


seeking for counsel in a land full of eminent attorneys. 
They simply desired to get rid of righteous and troublesome 
judges, to slay judicial adversaries and, if possible, install 
carpet knights of their own. McCrary resigned in 1884, 
and to-day his successor is upon the Supreme bench. 


The constitution of the United States was designed as a 
safe-guard for human beings. It was framed at a time 
when commerce in the new world was in its infancy and 
when business was carried on for the most part by single 
individuals and by associations of persons called co- 
partnerships. Our present phenomenal growth of ideal 
beings which we call corporations had not been dreamed 
of in the business world. When the Constitution speaks 
of citizens and persons, there can be nothing clearer than 
that it refers to human beings who are the subjects of birth 
and death and who owe allegiance and obedience to law. 
Modern corporations had no representative in the Colonial 
armies nor were they present when the British forces sur- 
rendered. They did not sign the Declaration of Indepen- 
dence nor are their rights or grievances enumerated in that 
instrument. The design of the Declaration was to assert 
the right of man to smite his oppressor and to break every 
chain. It boldly asserts the theor}^ of human equality 
and justice. The Constitution is the Declaration enacted 
into law. It should enable the citizen to strike down, 
through the proper law-making bodies and the courts of 
justice, every assailant of individual rights or personal 
security. The internal foes of social order and personal 
liberty are nfore dangerous — more insidious, than those 
which threaten from without. The Constitution should be 
so interpreted as to protect society from both. If it be not 
capable of such translation it is a broken reed and the 


most stupendous failure of the Century. The menace of 
plutocrac}' as manifested in the modern corporation and 
association of incorporations called trusts, was not foreseen 
by the framers of the constitution. But that interpretation 
of our fundamental law which will enable both law-makers 
and courts to afford the amplest safe-guards to the individ- 
ual is the only rendering which should be tolerated. Men 
and women — not corporations — are the glory of the state. 
It is man — not the trust — who hastens to the defense of 
Society when it is imperiled. It was the happiness and 
security of the individual which engaged the attention of 
our fathers, and not the conservation of powerful sj'ndicates, 
corporations and combines. Accumulated wealth has for- 
ever claimed kingship over the whole earth. Our fathers 
understood this full well and sought to dethrone the tyrant 
and to take the crown from his head. This cruel assump- 
tion of wealth was personified in the monarchs of antiquity 
who asserted absolute dominion over the earnings, the 
estates and the lives of their subjects. It gave life to the 
feudal system of the middle ages and it was the spirit of the 
law of primogeniture. But its latest and most dangerous 
incarnation is the intangible and yet ever living corporation. 
The sword could overthrow the monarch and the execu- 
tioner behead him. The feudal system perished before the 
inexorable demands of modern commerce and the march 
of Christianity. But an invisible, intangible being has no 
fear of the sword nor of the uplifted axe. Neither moral 
nor revealed law can reach it, for it has ho conscience. 
It is the tyranny of greed coupled with the attribute of 
statutory immortality. 

The despotism of wealth found its greatest foe in the 
limitations of human life. Men died, great estates 
crumbled to pieces and were redistributed again. Hence 
some means must be found to bridge the chasm of death, 


and 60 the State was asked to create a being and place him 
upon the earth who should not be circumscribed by mortal- 
ity. Owing to the disposition of man to transgress every 
obligation of the Decalogue the span of his life has been 
cut short by his Creator. But our Governments, State and 
National, have been dealing out legal immortality and im- 
mutability by the wholesale. They have created thousands 
of corporations on every hand and endowed them with 
perpetual succession. They have clothed them with all 
the power to acquire and hold property which belong to 
ordinary mortals. These artificial beings have the infirmi- 
ties of avarice but are without the restraining virtue of con- 
science. In every conflict flesh and blood go down before 
them like grass before the scythe. With the certainty of 
life given to them, the fear of death taken away and with 
millions of wealth at their command, to what may they not 
aspire? State lines are as cobwebs and great Commonwealths 
and populous cities are only ant hills to these terrestrial 
monsters. Their creation is in manifest derogation of moral 
law and a declaration of war upon humanity. The world 
should become awake to this fact before it is too late. 

But let us carefully note the gradual steps in their 
enfranchisement which is now thorough and complete 
throughout the Bepublic 

The power of either Congress or the State Legislatures 
to create corporations and endow them with perpetual suc- 
cession was at first stubbornly denied. It was speedily 
sustained, however, by the courts. To guard against pos- 
sible reversals, provisions were from time to time inserted 
in State Constitutions expressly granting the power. Capital- 
ists were quick to avail themselves of the proffered advan- 
tages and hence the unparalleled growth of these institu- 
tions in modern times. Now that they had a statutory 
b'rth the question of their status in society and in businoss 


affairs became important. Having by their incorporation 
escaped all the weaknesses and disagreeable limitations 
belonging to natural persons, they then laid claim to all 
the rights and immunities belonging to man, including 
that of citizenship under the Constitution. Having thus 
far conquered they at once laid siege to the Court of Last 

In the year 1769 the British crown (Geo, III.) granted a 
charter to the trustees of Dartmouth College in the then 
colony of New Hampshire. Early in the present Century 
the Legislature of the State of New Hampshire passed a law 
to amend this charter and making a change in the board of 
trustees. The power of the Legislature to do so was stub- 
bornly denied. Litigation followed in the State courts 
where the legislation was upheld and the cause quickly 
found its way to the Supreme Court. Daniel Webster was 
of counsel for the corporation. The litigation attracted 
ver} T wide attention. Chief Justice Marshall, speaking for 
the Court, pronounced the opinion in the year 1819. (4 
Wheaton, 518.) He held that the charter granted by the 
British crown constituted a contract within the meaning of 
that clause of the Constitution of the United States which 
declares that no state shall make any law impairing the 
obligation of contracts. The Court held that the charter 
was not dissolved by the Revolution, and that the subse- 
quent act of the New Hampshire Legislature, after the 
organization of the government of the United States, 
and after the admission of that State into the Union, alter- 
ing the charter in a material respect, was an act impairing 
the obligation of the charter, and therefore unconstitu- 
tional. This decision is the great bulwark of corporate 
power. It is the shield and hiding place for all kinds of 
associations which are plotting to rob the people and sup- 
plant Democratic government. It is infinitely more disas- 


trous and fatal than the Dred Scott decision, for unless our 
Constitution be amended or the decision overthrown in the 
Court, which is now quite impossible, it most be accepted 
as the law through all time. The immutability of charters, 
and doctrine of vested rights arising under the acts of Legis- 
latures, by which all subsequent Legislatures are pre- 
cluded from either repealing or changing the conditions 
of the grant — these and a multitude of other evils have 
sprung from the Dartmouth College case. 

In the case of the Louisville Railroad Company vs. Let- 
son, 2 Howard, 555, decided in 18-M, and Insurance Com- 
pany vs. Morse, 20 Wallace U. S. Rep., 553, decided in 
1874, it is held that a railroad company, or other corpora- 
tion, of course, is a citizen within the meaning of section 2, 
article 3, of the Constitution, and also within the meaning 
of that section of the Judiciary act of 1789, and subsequent 
acts, which provide for the removal of causes from State to 
Federal courts. 

These cases, taken together, constitute a Pandora's box, 
out of which have sprung a brood of evils which are now 
embarrassing and afflicting the Commonwealth. They com- 
pletely enfranchise the whole multitude of artificial persons 
and grant them a status and base of operations from which 
they can carry on their war for the subjugation and enslave- 
ment of natural persons. It is safe to assert that no mem- 
ber of the Constitutional Convention ever contemplated 
anything of the kind. It is a vicious fiction existing solel}* 
in the imagination of the Court. 

It is curious to note the progress made by the Court in 
reaching the conclusion that a corporation is a citizen 
within the meaning of the Constitution. At first it was 
held by Chief Justice Marshall, in Bank of U. S. vs. 
Deveaux, that "An invisible, intangible and artificial 
being, that mere legal entity — a corporation aggregate — is 


certainly not a citizen, and consequently cannot sue or be 
sued in the courts of the United States, unless all the mem- 
bers of the corporation were citizens of the State which 
created it." The same doctrine was held in Strawbridge 
vs. Curtiss. See 3rd Cranch 36, 5th Cranch 267. 

It was next held that all members of the corporation 
should be conclusively presumed to be citizens of the 
State that created it, and that the presumption could neither 
be denied in pleadings nor contradicted by evidence! Still 
later it was held in Louisville Railroad Company vs. Let- 
son, 2d Howard, page 555, "That the former decisions 
had never been satisfactory to the bar, and not entirely 
satisfactory to the Court that made them!" 

Quoting from the Dartmouth College case, they hold that 
a "Corporation is an artificial being, invisible, intangible, 
and existing only in contemplation of law; that it possesses 
only those properties which the charter of its crea- 
tion confers upon it. These are such as were supposed 
best calculated to effect the object for which it was created, 
and among the most important are immortality and indi- 
viduality — properties by which a perpetual succession of 
many persons are considered as the same, and may act as 
a single individual. They enable a corporation to manage 
its own affairs, and to hold property without the perplex- 
ing intricacies, the hazardous and endless necessity of per- 
petual conveyances for the purpose of transmitting it from 
hand to hand. It is chiefly for the purpose of clothing 
bodies of men in succession with these qualities and capac- 
ities, that corporations were invented and are in use. By 
these means a perpetual succession of individuals are 
capable of acting for the promotion of the particular object 
like one immortal being." And then they squarely hold in 
the same case, that "A corporation created by and doing 
business in a particular state is to be deemed to all intents 


and purposes a person, although an artificial person, an 
inhabitant of the same State for the purpose of its incor- 
poration, capable of being treated as a citizen of that 
State, as much as a natural person." 

This, the court declares, is a natural inference from the 
decision in the Dartmouth College case. The whole super- 
structure seems to be built upon a succession of inferences 
instead of upon a plain grant of power. 

In 1874, an opinion was rendered in the Insurance Com- 
pany vs. Morse. 20 Wallace, U. S. Rep., 553, that a cor- 
poration is a citizen of the State by which it was created, 
and in which its principal place of business is situated, so 
far that it can sue and be sued in the Federal courts, and 
like natural persons, has the right to remove its causes from 
the State to the Federal courts. 

Now every member of the bar, every intelligent person, 
certainly knows that there is not a particle of authority for 
this ruling, either in the Constitution itself or in the busi- 
ness situation at the time the Constitution was made. 
The very terms used in that instrument and in the Judiciary 
Act of 1789, exclude and render unreasonable any such 
interpretation. Both the Constitution and the act use the 
word citizen, evidently meaning natural persons. It is 
simply and purely judicial legislation of the most unau- 
thorized character, promulgated in amplification of the juris- 
diction of the Court. The first opinions of Chief Justice 
Marshall, found in 3rd and 5th Cranch, referred to above 
are correct. They were in harmony with the Constitution 
and in accord with sound reason. 

The gradual and reluctant change of opinion by the 
Court was contemporaneous with the alarming growth of 
corporate power and influence in American business life 
As the Court showed hesitation, the corporations grew 


importunate, and the complete surrender of the Judiciary 
quickly followed. 

What authority had our courts, in the absence of legis- 
lative expression, to enfranchise this modern octopus, and 
clothe it with all the rights of citizenship? Neither Con- 
gress nor the framers of the Constitution had ventured to 
do so. No act of legislation since the foundation of our 
Government has exerted such stupendous influence upon 
the fortunes and business interests of the American people 
as this one unconstitutional and wholly unauthorized judi- 
cial ipse dixit. It was the one thing needful to place the 
people in complete subjection to corporate power. 

And they have even gone so far as to flatly hold that 
where an insurance company had filed an agreement in 
compliance with the law of the State of Wisconsin, as a con- 
dition precedent to entering upon business in that Statej that 
it would litigate its causes in the State courts and not remove 
the same to the Federal courts, was not binding, and that the 
act of the Legislature which required the company to file this 
agreement was unconstitutional and void. 

Such, also, was the fate of an Act recently passed by the 
Iowa Legislature known as the Sweeney law, which required 
foreign corporations doing business within the State of Iowa 
to become incorporated under the laws thereof. It was held 
to be repugnant to the Constitution. 

These and other decisions of similar import inaugurated 
the conflict now pending in the United States between nat- 
ural and artificial persons. The corporations are intrenched 
in the courts and the people are at great disadvantage. It 
is a race war of the fiercest kind, and a war of subjugation, 
for it is the evident purpose of the multitude of artificial 
persons to drive the great body of mankind to the wall and 
to compel them to submit to the yoke. The barbarians over- 
ran Home, but the corporations and trusts have secured a 


much easier conquest here. It must be conceded that in a 
struggle with persons clothed, as the courts sa} r , with "indi- 
viduality, immutability and immortality," and who possess 
at the same time unlimited wealth, natural persons would 
be very unequally yoked. So far as this world is concerned 
man lacks two of these attributes. He enters the contest 
with but one — his individuality, and sooner or later is likely 
to regret that he possesses even that. 


A critical examination of the adjudications of our 
Supreme Court upon the most vital questions of the Century 
impresses us with the instability of judicial opinion, and we 
stand astonished at the spectacle of fickleness and incon- 
stancy which rises up before us. 

Whilst the administration of justice between private indi- 
viduals is always important, as it is one of the chief ends 
for which Society is organized ; yet when this duty is con- 
fined to trustworthy hands, the steady flow and exercise of 
the power does not attract marked public attention. The 
members of community know generally that the courts of 
justice hold their regular sessions ; that persons accused of 
crime are being tried, convicted and punished or restored 
to their liberty ; that judgments and decrees are being ren- 
dered and property taken and transferred to satisfy a 
variety of obligations; but beyond this general comprehen- 
sion the great mass of people are unobservant and ordina- 
rily disinterested. When, however, absorbing controversies 
arise involving the right of a State, inhabited by millions 
of people, to protect its citizens from various abuses affect- 
ing the morals, the health, the business and the safet} r of 
Society, the attitude of our Court of last resort should be 
unmistakable, clear and steadfast. The adjudications of 
nearly a century upon a given question, all concurring to 


establish a certain construction for the guidance of the citi- 
zen and the States alike, should not be disturbed, and the 
institutions and laws which have become chrystalized and 
established in consequence of these decisions should not be 
broken up and unsettled with impunity. This tribunal, if 
it would command respect, should see to it that its adjudi- 
cations comport with the dignity of the parties to the con- 
trovers}-, be equal to the gravity of the questions involved 
and as thorough and exhaustive as it is possible for the 
human understanding to afford. 

Our Federal Union is now composed of forty-four inde- 
pendent States, with avenues of inter-communication which 
sever State lines and municipal boundaries with as little 
regard as birds of passage exhibit when, with the recur- 
rance of the seasons, the}' make their periodic flights across 
the continent. The Legislative power of the States over 
institutions of their own creation, over questions of internal 
police, the point where this power ceases and the authority 
of Congress begins, and vice versa, are questions of vital 
import in this day of colossal corporations and associated 
capital. If the Court is entitled to the respect and venera- 
tion which is claimed for it, the legislation and litigation of 
a Centur}*- should not leave us in doubt, at this late period, 
concerning the lines which separate between the State and 
Federal sovereignty. 

Let us proceed to an examination of the decisions of the 
Court relating to questions of internal police and the regu- 
lation of inter-state commerce. The first great case in this 
category was decided at the January term, 1829, Wilson vs. 
the Blackbird Creek Company, 2 Peters. 245. A law had 
been passed by the State of Delaware to authorize the con- 
struction of a dam in a navigable tide-water of that State. 
In delivering the unanimous opinion of the Court, Chief 
Justice Marshall said : "The measure authorized by this 


act stops a navigable creek and must be supposed to 
abridge the rights of those who have been accustomed to 
use it. But this abridgment, unless it comes in conflict 
with the Constitution or a law of the United States, is an 
affair between the Government of Delaware and its citizens 
of which this Court can take no cognizance. Counsel for 
the plaintiff in error insists that it comes in conflict with the 
power of the United States to regulate commerce with for- 
eign nations and among the several States. If Congress 
had passed an act which bore upon the case * * * 
we should feel not much difficulty in saying that a State 
law coming in conflict with such act would be void. But 
Congress has passed no such act. The repugnancy of the 
law of Delaware to the Constitution is placed entirely on 
its repugnancy to the power to regulate commerce with 
foreign nations and among the several States; a power 
which has not been so exercised as to affect the question." 

There can be no misunderstanding concerning the mean- 
ing and scope of such language. 

The state of Pennsylvania, through its legislature, author- 
ized the city of Philadelphia to erect a permanent bridge 
across the Schuylkill river (a navigable water), at the foot 
of Chestnut street. The constitutionality of the act was 
called in question and the case was taken to the Supreme 
Court, Gillman vs. Philadelphia, 3 Wall., 713, where the 
law was upheld. The court held that "It was for Congress 
to determine when its full power to regulate commerce 
should be brought into activity * * * and that until 
the dormant power of the Constitution is awakened and 
made effective by appropriate legislation the reserve power 
of the States is plenary and its exercise in good faith can 
not be made the subject of review by this court." 

Again, in the Escanaba Co. vs. Chicago, 107 U. S., 678, 
683, where the city had, in pursuance of a State statute, 


regulated the times for opening and closing the draws in 
the bridges crossing the Chicago river, which operated as a 
regulation of commerce both interstate and foreign, the 
Supreme Court held that "There being no legislation by 
Congress to the contrary the power was constitutionally 
exercised." Mr. Justice Field, delivering the opinion of the 
court, said: "The Chicago river and its branches * * * 
must be deemed navagable waters of the United States. 
But the States have full power to regulate within their lim- 
its matters of internal police, including in that general 
designation whatever will promote the peace, comfort, con- 
venience and prosperity of their people." 

For more than eighty years in the history of 'this country 
the States exercised almost exclusive control over roads, 
bridges, ferries, wharves and, harbors, and no judicial 
tribunal doubted their right to do so. 

The case of Transportation Co. vs. Parkersburg, is in 
point. The city had built certain wharves for the accom- 
modation of vessels navigating the Ohio river and estab- 
lished certain charges which boat owners were required to 
pay. Parties engaged in navigating that river claimed 
that the State law authorizing such charges was an uncon- 
stitutional inference with the commerce of the Ohio river. 
The Supreme Court held that "Until Congress has acted, 
the courts can not assume control over the subject as a mat- 
ter of federal cognizance. It is Congress, and not the 
judicial department, to which the constitution has given the 
power to regulate commerce with foreign nations and 
among the several states. The courts can never take the 
initiative on this subject." 

The decision in Peih vs. The Chicago <& J¥. W. IFy, 94 
U. S., 164, is also in point. This case involved the consti- 
tutionality of a law of Wisconsin to .regulate the price of 
freights and passenger traffic on the railroads operated in 


that State. It operated on freight and passengers carried 
from another State to any point within the State of Wiscon- 
sin, or from any point to another State. The Court held 
that "Until Congress acts in reference to the relation of 
this company to interstate commerce, it is certainly within 
the power of Wisconsin to regulate its fares so far as they 
are of domestic concern. * * * Incidentally 
these may reach beyond the State. But certainly, until 
Congress undertakes to legislate for those who are without 
the State, Wisconsin may provide for those within, even 
though it may indirectly affect those without." 

In Munn vs. Illinois, 94 U. S., 113. it was claimed that a 
law of the State of Illinois prescribing elevator charges 
was an attempt to regulate commerce among the States, 
inasmuch as it applied to wheat in transit between the 
States. The Chief Justice, in delivering the opinion of 
the Court said: "There can be no doubt but that exclu- 
sive power has been conferred upon Congress in respect to 
the regulation of commerce among the several States. The 
difficulty has never been as to the existence of the power, 
but as to what is to be deemed an encroachment upon it." 

Then referring to the cases of dams, navigable waters, 
turnpikes and ferries, and after stating that the question at 
bar was in all essential respects the same, he says: "Their 
regulation may be assumed by the State until Congress 
acts in reference to their foreign and interstate relation." 

The decision in the license cases, 5 Howard, 504, decided 
in 1846, is exactly in point. The case of Pierce et al. vs. 
New Hampshire, is the most important in this group. The 
defendants had been fined for selling a barrel of gin in 
New Hampshire, which they had bought in Boston and 
shipped coastwise to Portsmouth, and there sold in the 
same barrel and condition in which it was purchased in 
Massachusetts, but contrary to the law of New Hampshire 


in that behalf. In delivering the opinion of the Court 
Chief Justice Taney said: 

"The question brought up for decision is, whether a 
State is prohibited by the constitution of the United States 
from making any regulations of foreign commerce with 
another JState, although such regulation is confined to its 
own territory, and made for its own convenience or interest, 
and does not come in conflict with any law of Congress. 
In other words, whether the grant of power to Congress is 
of itself a prohibition to the States, and renders all such law 
upon the subject null and void. The mere grant of 
power to the General government can not, upon any just 
principles of construction, be construed to be an absolute 
prohibition to the exercise of any power over the same 
subject by the States. The controlling and supreme power 
over commerce with foreign nations and the several States 
is undoubtedly conferred upon Congress. Yet, in my judg- 
ment, the State may, nevertheless, for the safety or conve- 
nience of trade, or for the protection of the health of its 
citizens, make regulations of commerce for its citizens, 
make regulations of commerce for its own ports and har- 
bors, and for its own territory; and such regulations are 
valid unless they come in conflict with a law of Congress.'' 

The conclusion of the opinion of Mr. Chief Justice 
Taney is in these words: 

"Upon the whole, therefore, the law of New Hampshire 
is in my judgment a valid one. For, although the gin sold 
was an import from another State, and Congress have 
clearly the power to regulate such importations, under the 
grant of power to regulate commerce among the several 
States, yet as Congress has made no regulation on the sub- 
ject, the traffic in the article may be lawfully regulated by 
the State as soon as it is landed in its territory, and a tax 
imposed upon it, or a licence required, or the sale altogether 
prohibited, according to the policy which the State may 
suppose to be its interest or duty to pursue. " 

But why cite further cases in which this doctrine has 
been enunciated? To use the language of the dissenting 


judges in Wabash etc. Railway Company vs. Illinois. "It 
is almost a work of supererogation to refer to the cases. 
They are legion." 

From the accession of Chief Justice Marshall in 1801, to 
the opinions pronounced by Chief Justice Waite in the 
Grange cases of 1876, covering three-quarters of a century, 
it was uniformly held that in the class of cases now under 
consideration, the power of the States was plenary when 
exercised in good faith, and that in the absence of Con- 
gressional action, could not be made the subject of judicial 
review. To use the very terse language of the Court in 
the Parkersburg case, "Until Congress has acted, the 
Courts cannot assume control as a matter of federal cogni- 
zance. That it is to Congress and not to the Judicial 
department, to which the Constitution has given the power 
to regulate Commerce with foreign nations and among the 
several States, and that the Courts can never take the ini- 
tiative on this subject." Chief Justice Waite died enter- 
taining these opinions, and so, doubtless, did all his 
illustrious predecessors. 


The extraordinary financial crisis precipitated upon the 
country in the autumn of 1873, pervaded every avenue of 
society and shook every branch of industry. The politi- 
cal consequences which followed were tremendous. 
Throughout the northwest, in particular, the Grange 
movement rose like a tempest, and soon reached every 
nook and corner of the country. Investigation quickly 
revealed the fact that producers, consumers, and the pub- 
lic generally, were being shamefully swindled by excessive 
railroad rates and fares, and that public safety required 
that the tyranny of monopoly should be overthrown. 
Legislators were chosen with reference to the great con- 


trovers y, and political parties in the Northwest were com 
pletely disorganized. Legislation followed in restraint oi 
corporate pretensions. In Iowa, Wisconsin, and othei 
States statutes were enacted, prescribing maximum rates, 
beyond which the companies were forbidden to charge, 
under heav}- penalties. The conflict between the people 
and the corporations grew to be fierce. It was the first 
important engagement between the belligerent and deter- 
mined forces. They fought at every step and contested 
every inch of the ground. True, the companies were the 
offspring of the State, but they did not allow a trifling 
matter of that kind to deter them for a moment. They 
spurned parental counsel, harrassed everybody, refused to 
obey the law, forbade the people to go aboard their trains 
without tickets, and declined to sell tickets except at the 
old rates. While this unseemly warfare was in progress 
cases to test the constitutionality of the offensive statutes 
were being rapidly pushed in the courts; meanwhile the 
anti-monopoly feeling among the people was constantly 
gaining in intensity and power. The corporations were 
defeated in the State tribunals, and at once appealed to the 
Supreme Court of the United States. As we have already 
learned, they were equally unsuccessful in that tribunal. 

The monopolists were discomfited, of course, by these 
reverses, but never for a moment did they abandon their 
purpose. They were full of resources and bent on final 
victory. Not so with the people. They were exultant, 
short-sighted, unmindful of the future, ceased to be watch- 
ful and disbanded their forces. They did not comprehend 
the strength and tenacity of their powerful adversary. 

In the Grange cases the corporations endeavored first to 
overthrow the long line of decisions heretofore recited 
which held that in the absence of Congressional action the 
States might lawfully legislate upon this class of subjects; 


second, to have it judicially determined that even in strictly 
State traffic, the question whether rates exacted by trans- 
portation companies were reasonable or not, was a judicial 
question and could not therefore be determined by the 
Legislature. The Court ruled against the corporations on 
both propositions. 

Following these judicial reverses, the conspiracy alluded 
to by the Hon. David Davis, was formed to fill the 
Supreme Bench with men trained in the school of the cor- 
porations, and whose mental bias, forensic education and 
professional experience qualify them to evolve that new 
j mis-prudence — that new theory of constitutional construc- 
tion which shall stifle State Legislatures, palsy the arm of 
the people, and at once afford to the corporations a safe 
retreat from popular indignation and legislative super- 
vision. The success which has crowned their efforts will 
become painfully apparent as we carefully examine the 
decisions since that period. The people were victorious in 
the decrees of 1876, but they have met with unbroken dis- 
aster from that date forward. 


The .transition had begun in earnest. Ten years had 
elapsed since the first forensic encounter of 1876 had taken 
place between the people and the three giants, known as 
the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy, the Chicago & North- 
western and the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul railway 
companies. The defeat of the corporations was hailed 
at the time with delight by the multitude and attracted 
marked attention everywhere. But this august Court, 
greatly changed, was in session for the October term, 1886, 
There had been no change in the Constitution meantime, 
nor in the oath of office of the judges. One of the judges 
it seems, had been re-illuminated during the decade, while 


others had passed away and new men had taken their 
places. The case of Wabash, St. Louis & Pacific Railway 
Company vs. Illinois was up for hearing. A state — three 
millions of people, their Legislature and courts — stood at 
the bar, summoned hither at the beck of a corporation 
which this same state had created, but which now denied 
the authority of its creator to circumscribe its conduct or 
set limits to its exactions. 

The Legislature of Illinois had passed an act which, in 
substance, made it unlawful for a railroad corporation, 
doing business in that State, to charge, collect or receive, 
dircetly or indirectly, for the transportation of freight or 
passengers upon its road, the same or a greater amount of 
toll than was charged for the same class of goods shipped a 
greater distance in the same direction, and prescribed pen- 
alties which were to follow the violation of the law. It 
appeared that the company had, in violation of the Illinois 
statute, charged Elder & McKinney for transporting 26,000 
pounds of goods from Peoria, 111., to New York City the 
sum of $39-00, being at the rate of fifteen cents per hun- 
dred pounds for the car load; that on the same day they had 
agreed to transport for Isaac Bailey and F. O Swansell 
another car load of goods of like character from Gilman, 
111., to New York City for the sum of $65.00, being at the 
rate of twenty-five cents per hundred pounds. The car load 
transported at the fifteen cent rate was carried eighty-six 
miles farther than the car load for which they charged 
twenty-five cents per hundred. Suit was brought in the 
State courts to enforce the law against the delinquent road. 
The corporation claimed that the law was unconstitutional, 
for the reason that it was an attempt to regulate commerce 
among the States. The Supreme Court of the State of Illi- 
nois overruled the point, and held that, as the statute 
applied only to that portion of the service rendered within 


the State, it was valid and must be obe\ ed. In support of 
its decision the Court cited the opinions of the Supreme 
Court of the United States in the Grange cases, and partic- 
ularly the following language, found in Peik vs. Chicago & 
Northwestern Kailway Company, 94 U. S., 177-8: "As to 
the effect of the statute as a regulation of inter-state com- 
merce, the law is confined to State commerce, or such inter- 
state commerce as directly affects the people of Wisconsin. 
Until Congress acts in reference to the relations of this 
company to inter-state commerce, it is certainly within the 
power of "Wisconsin to regulate its fares, etc., 60 far as they 
are of domestic concern. With the people of Wisconsin 
this company has domestic relations. Incidentally, these 
may reach be} r ond the State. But certainly, until Congress 
undertakes to legislate for those who are without the State, 
Wisconsin may provide for those within, even though it 
may indirectly affect those without." 

The reader will understand that the Wisconsin statute, 
concerning which the above ruling was made in 1876, was 
in every particular substantially the ..same as the Illinois 
statute now under consideration, and was so treated by the 
judges who concurred as well as those who dissented from 
the opinion rendered. The Wisconsin statute was upheld 
in 1886; but owing to the marked change in the personnel 
of the Court and the change of opinion on the part of one 
of the old judges, the Illinois law was less fortunate in 
1886, and was declared unconstitutional and void. It is 
creditable to Chief Justice Waite and Mr. Justice Bradley, 
that they rigidly adhered to their former opinion given in 
the Grange cases, and hence filed an able dissenting opinion 
in this case, in which Mr. Justice Gray concurred. 

During the presentation of the case to the Court, Mr. 
Hunt, attorney-general of Illinois, strongly urged the sim- 
ilarity of the two statutes and cited the decision of the 


Court in the Grange cases as conclusive of the whole- 
matter in controversy. He showed that the State Legisla- 
ture and the Court of Illinois had been guided by the 
decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States, and 
had in no respect exceeded the authority there enunciated 
and upheld. The thrust was keenly felt and the awkward 
and embarrassing attitude of the Court was reluctantly 
admitted. One of the justices who had concurred in the 
Grange opinions, delivered the opinion in this case. He 

"It cannot be denied that the general language of the 
Court in these (Grange) cases, upon the power of Con- 
gress to regulate commerce, may be susceptible of the 
meaning which the Illinois Court places upon it." 

After quoting the language of the Court in these cases, 
he further says: 

"These extracts show that the question of the right of 
the State to regulate the rates of fares and tolls on rail- 
roads, and how far that right was affected by the commerce 
clause of the Constitution of the United States, was pre- 
sented to the Court in those cases. It must be admitted 
that, in a general way, the Court treated the cases then 
before it as belonging to that class of regulations of com- 
merce which, like pilotage, bridging navigable rivers, and 
many others, could be acted upon by the States in the 
absence of any legislation by Congress on the same 

The Justice did himself and the truth of history great 
violence when he intimated that the Grange cases were not 
fully considered and ably contested on both sides of the 
controversy, The litigation at the time attracted universal 
attention throughout the country and the ablest counsel 
known to the legal profession in America were employed 
to manage the contention. The Justice further gave utter- 
ance in this case to the following remarkable language: 


"Of the members of the Court who concurred in those 
opinions, (Grange) there being two dissentients, but three 
remain and the writer of this opinion is one of the three. 
He is prepared to take his share of the responsibility foi 
the language used in those opinions, including the extracts 
above presented. He does not feel called upon to say 
whether those extracts justify the decision of the Illinois 
court in the present case." 

What did the learned judge mean by the statement that 
there were but three justices then upon the bench who had 
participated in the Grange cases ? What had that fact to 
do with the Constitution ? Are we to have a new interpre- 
tation of that instrument every time we have a change of 
judges? The Justice unwittingly disclosed the fact that 
the Court, as at present constituted, is hostile to the Grange 
decisions. His language and the decision which he was 
then promulgating render this conclusion inevitable. 

We submit that language like this is not becoming in a 
Court whose members hold their positions by the life tenure. 
What responsibility could this judge assume? Both he and 
the Court for which he was speaking were beyond the reach 
of the ballot box; they could not be impeached for judicial 
opinion expressed in a cause properly brought before them. 
There was no responsibility except a moral one which he 
or they could possibly assume. There was no atonement 
which the Court or this justice could possibly make for any 
evil which a wrongful decision might inflict. It is always 
the unoffending people who are wounded and bruised for 
transgressions of this character. But why did neither the 
Justice nor the Court feel called upon to say whether the 
decisions in the Grange Cases justified the ruling of the 
Illinois Court? Both the State Legislature and the State 
Court had acted in strict conformity to the Grange de- 
cisions and relied implicity upon them. They were urged 
vehemently in the case as conclusive of the whole contro- 


vers}'. If the Illinois Court had not misapplied the decis- 
ions in the Grange cases, its ruling must be upheld until 
the Federal decisions were themselves overthrown; and yet 
the justice, speaking for the Court, refused to say whether 
or not the State Court was warranted in making this appli- 
cation! This was the vital point in controversy. Was it a 
trifliDg matter that the Legislature of the State of Illinois, 
the people thereof and the State Court had all been de- 
ceived and mislead by the Supreme Court of the United 
States and by the very judge who was delivering the 
opinion? Could judicial arrogance be more pronounced 
or offensive? It was little dreamed that this tribunal, with- 
out the courage to so avow, was about to nullify the solemn 
act of a State Legislature, the adjudications of the State 
Court made in conformity thereto, and its own deliberate 
decisions upon which both had been based. No wonder 
that Chief Justice Waite, Justice Bradley and Justice Gray 
refused to join in or be compromised by such an extraor- 
dinary decision. 

There is now but one Justice remaining upon the bench 
who concurred in the Grange decisions of 1876 — Mr. 
Justice Bradley. Chief Justice Waite and Justice Miller 
having died since this decision in the Wabash case was 

Mr. Justice Bradley stands as steadfast as Gibralter, but, 
alas! he stands alone, powerless to arrest the influx of the 
tidal wave. The Supreme Court is the highest point in our 
Federal system. When it is submerged by the corporations 
what must necessarily be the status of the people who move 
in the humbler and lower walks of life ? 

On March 19, 1888, the case of Bowman vs. Chicago & 
Northwestern Railroad Co., was decided, 125 U. S.,465. 
Section 1553 of the Code of Iowa, as amended by Chapter 
143 of the Acts of the Twentieth General Assembly of 


18S6, forbade common carriers to bring intoxicating liquors 
into the State from any other State or Territory, without 
first being furnished with a certificate as described in the 
act. This law was declared unconstitutional as being es- 
sentially a regulation of commerce among the States. Its 
unconstitutionality did not result from any conflict with 
the legislation of Congress, for that body had taken no 
action, but simply from its repugnance to the mere grant 
of power to Congress by the Constitution. This decision 
was tantamount to a declaration by the Court that the 
grant of power to Congress is of itself a prohibition to the 
States and renders all such enactments null and void. It 
was in direct conflict with the unbroken decisions of the 
Court upon that question for three-quarters of a century, as 
alread\ r shown. The opinion in this case was by Mr. 
Justice Matthews, whose elevation to the bench, as has 
been seen, was surrounded by circumstances well calculated 
to awaken public apprehension. There was an elaborate 
concurring opinion also by Mr. Justice Field. The fact 
that this case related in one of its phases to the suppress- 
ion of the sale of intoxicating liquors had no influence 
whatever upon the Court. It involved purely and simply 
the right of a State, in the absence of action by Congress, 
to legislate at all upon this class of questions. The state 
of affairs foreseen by the Honorable David Davis was 
rapidly becoming manifest. Chief Justice Waite, Justice 
Harlan and Justice Gray stoutly dissented, for the reason 
that the ruling was in effect a reversal of the Grange decis- 
ions to which they still adhered. It was directly in conflict 
with the opinion in the case of Pierce vs. New Hampshire, 
rendered by Chief Justice Taney, in 1S4-7, before referred 
to in this chapter and in point blank contradiction of the 
utterances of the Court in the Robbins case, 120 U. S., 493, 
where the Court made use of the following language: 


"It is an established principle that the only way in 
which commerce between the States can be legitimately 
affected by State laws, is where, by virtue of its police 
power and its jurisdiction over persons and property within 
its limits, a State provides, for the security of the lives, 
limbs, health and comfort of persons and the protection of 
property; or where it does those things which may inci- 
dentally affect commerce, such as the establishment and 
regulation of highways, canals, wharves, ferries and other 
commercial facilities, * * * or by the passage of laws 
to restrict the sale of articles deemed injurious to the health 
or morals of community." 

Moreover, it was as suggested by the dissenting judges, 
squarely in conflict with the opinions in the Grange cases, 
and with the whole line of opinions from the organization 
of the Court in 1790 down to 1876, concerning the power 
of State Legislatures to enact such laws before the dormant 
force of the Constitution was awakened by Congressional 
action. But the ruling in this case created no surprise at 
the bar, at least among those who were watching closely 
the current of events. All observant members of com- 
munity well understood that the opinion in the Wabash 
case, above referred to, marked the period when the Court 
had adroitly about-faced upon the real question in contro- 
versy in this case, and of course no retrogression could now 
reasonably be anticipated. 

Quickly following this judicial fulmination came the cel- 
ebrated Iowa original package decision, which upset the 
New Hampshire case decided in 1847, and blasted State 
laws and judicial rulings which had flourished and been 
accepted for more than two generations. 

The next important adjudication was in the case of the 
Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway Company vs. the 
State of Minnesota, ex rel, the Railroad and Warehouse 
Commissioners of that State. This judicial pronunciamento 


was delivered March 24, 1890, by Justice Blatchford, who 
was appointed in 1882. An act of the Legislature of the 
State of Minnesota approved March 7, 1887, created a com- 
mission to be known as the "Railroad and Warehouse 
Commission," to consist of three persons to be appointed by 
the Governor, by and with the advice and consent of the 
Senate. The first section expressly limited the operation of 
the act to traffic between points within the State. The 
second section declares ' ' that all charges made by common 
carriers, subject to the provisions of this act, * * * 
shall be equal and reasonable; every unequal and unreason- 
able charge for such service is prohibited and declared to 
be unlawful." The eighth section provides that in case 
the Commission shall find at any time that any part of the 
tariffs of charges, filed and published by any common car- 
rier, is in any respect unequal or unreasonable, it shall 
have the power, and is authorized and directed, to compel 
any common carrier to change the same and adopt such 
charge as the Commission shall declare to be equal and 
reasonable; to which end the Commission shall, in writing, 
inform such carrier in what respect such tariff of charges is 
unequal and unreasonable, and shall recommend what tariff 
shall be substituted therefor, and their action shall be final; 
that in case the carrier shall neglect for ten days after such 
notice to adopt such charges as the Commission recom- 
mends, it shall be subject to a writ of mandamus, to be 
issued by any judge of the Supreme Court, or by any of 
the District Courts of the State, on application of the Com- 
mission. And the Commission may apply also to any 
judge for an injunction as against the carrier to restrain 
him from carrying on business within the State until they 
shall have complied with the requirements of law and the 
recommendations of the Commission. Certain other pen- 
alties, such as costs and counsel fees, were also to be 


In June, 1887, the boards-of- trade union of four differ- 
ent municipalities made complaint in writing that the Chi- 
cago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway Company, a common 
carrier doing business in the said State, was charging 
unequal and unreasonable rates for the transportation of 
milk, and specified with great particularity the facts upon 
which they based their complaint. The railway company 
was duly apprised by the Commission of the nature of the 
complaint, and appeared by its attorney on the day set for 
hearing. An investigation was had and the Commission 
pursued in all respects the line of procedure pointed out 
by the statute. The Commission found that the rates 
charged, three cents per gallon, was unequal and unrea- 
sonable, and decided and prescribed two-and-a-half cents 
per gallon as equal and reasonable, and directed the com- 
pany to adjust their charges accordingly. The demand 
was refused. In December, 1887, application was made 
to the Supreme Court by the Attorney-General of Minne- 
sota for an alternate writ of mandamus to compel the 
company to comply with the recommendations of the 
Commission and to change its tariff rates and to adopt the 
rate declared by the Commission to be equal and reason- 
able. The writ was accordingly issued. The company 
filed its return to the writ, setting up, first, that it was not 
competent for the Legislature of Minnesota to delegate to 
a Commission the power of fixing rates for transportation, 
and that the act under which it was done was void under 
the Constitution of the State; second, that the company, as 
the owner of its railroad, franchises, equipment, and 
appurtenances, and entitled to the possession and beneficial 
use thereof, was authorized to establish rates for the tran- 
sportation of freight and passengers, subject only to the 
provisions that such rates should be fair and reasonable; 
that the establishing of such rates by the State, against the 


will of the company, was pro tanto a taking of its property 
and depriving it thereof, without due process of law, in 
violation of section 1, of article 14, of the amendments to 
the Constitution of the United States; that the making of 
the order of October 13, 188T, was pro tanto a taking and 
deprived the company of its property without due process 
of law, in violation of said section 1, and therefore void 
and of no effect. 

That the rate of three cents per gallon as a freight for 
carrying milk in ten gallon cans on passenger trains from 
Owatonna and Fairibault respectively, to St, Paul and 
Minneapolis, was a reasonable, fair, and -just rate; and that 
the rate of two and a-half cents per gallon in ten gallon 
cans so fixed and established by the Commission, was not 
a reasonable, fair or just compensation to the company for 
the services rendered, and that the establishing of such 
rate by the Commission against the will of the company 
was, pro tanto, a taking of its property without due process 
of law. 

The case came on for hearing and the company applied 
for a reference to take testimony on the issue raised by the 
allegations as to whether the rate fixed by the Commission 
was reasonable, fair, and just. The court denied the appli- 
cation and ordered that a peremptory writ of mandamus 
issue. The terms of the writ were in all respects in accord- 
ance with the provisions of the Minnesota statute, and 
directed the company to change its rates. The railroad at 
once took the case to the Supreme Court of the United 
States on writ of error for review. The cause came on 
for hearing at the October term, 1889, but the decision was 
not promulgated until March 24, 1890. The decision of 
the Supreme Court of Minnesota, and the statute upon 
which it was based, were overthrown. In delivering the 
opinion of the court Justice Blatchford says: 


"The question of the reasonableness of a rate of charge 
for transportation by a railroad company, involving as it 
does the element of reasonableness both as regards the 
company and as regards the public, is eminently a question 
for judicial investigation, requiring due process of law for 
its determination. If the company is deprived of the 
power of charging reasonable rates for the use of its prop- 
erty, and such deprivation takes place in the absence of an 
investigation by judicial machinery, it is deprived of the 
lawful use of its property, and thus, in substance and 
effect, of the property itself, without due process of law 
and in violation of the Constitution of the United States; 
and in so far as it is thus deprived, while other persons are 
permitted to receive reasonable profits upon their invested 
capital, the company is deprived of the equal protection of 
the laws. * * * 

"The issuing of the peremptory writ of mandamus in 
this case was, therefore, unlawful, because in violation of 
the Constitution of the United States." 

No point is made by the Court that it is not within the 
power of the Legislature to authorize a commission to fix 
arbitrarily the rates. The law is held to be void because it 
did not provide for a judicial investigation as to the rea- 
sonableness of the rates. For that reason they hold that 
the company was deprived of its property without due 
process of law, and so, by precisely the same reasoning, 
it would have been if the Legislature had itself, by statute, 
fixed the rate at two-and-a-half cents per gallon. 

It is a significant fact that the Court does not cite a 
single authority in this case in support of its decision. It 
may well be silent; for by means of this ruling the Court 
has retraced its steps and quietly returned to the ground 
occupied by Justice Field and the other dissenting judges, 
in the Grange cases, in 1876. 

Mr. Justice Bradley, the only surviving member of the 
Court who concurred in the Grange decisions, delivered a 


dissenting opinion in this case, in which Justices Gray and 
Lamar concurred. We quote from it as follows: 

"I can not agree to the decision of the court in this case. 
It practically overrules Mann vs. Illinois (94 U. S., 113), 
and the several railroad cases that were decided at the 
3ame time (the Grange cases). The governing principle of 
those cases was that the regulation and settlement of the 
fares of railroads and other public accommodations is a 
legislative prerogative and not a judicial one. This is a 
principle which I regard as of great importance. When a 
railroad company is chartered, it is for the purpose of per- 
forming a duty which belongs to the State itself. It is its 
duty and its prerogative to provide means of intercom- 
munication between one part of its territory and another 
and this duty is devolved upon the legislative department." 

"In the case of Davidson ojs. City of New Orleans (96 
U. S., 97), we decided that the appointment of a Board of 
Assessors for assessing damages was not only due process 
of law, but the proper method for making assessments to 
distribute the burden of a public work amongst those who 
are benefited by it. No one questions the constitutionality 
or propriety of boards for assessing property for taxation, 
or for the improvement of streets, sewers and the like, or 
of commissions to establish county seats, and for doing 
many other things appertaining to the administrative man- 
agement of public affairs. Due process of law does not 
always require a court. It merely requires such tribunals 
and proceedings as are proper to the subject in hand. In 
the Kailroad Commission Cases (116 U. S., 307,) we held 
that a Board of Commissioners is a proper tribunal for 
determining the proper rates of fare and freight on the 
railroads of a State. It seems to me, therefore, that the 
law of Minnesota did not prescribe anything that was not 
in accordance with due process of law in creating such a 
board, and investing it with the powers in question." 

"It is complained that the decisions of the board are 
final and without appeal. So are the decisions of the 
Courts in the matters within their jurisdiction. There must 
be a final tribunal somewhere for deciding every question 
in the world. Injustice may take place in ali tribunals. 


All human institutions are imperfect — Courts as well as 
Commissions and Legislatures. Whatever tribunal has 
jurisdiction, its decisions are final and conclusive unless an 
appeal is given therefrom. The important question always 
is, what is the lawful tribunal for the particular case? In 
my judgment, in the present case, the proper tribunal was 
the Legislature, or the Board of Commissioners which it 
created for the purpose." 

"I am authorized to say that Mr. Justice Gray and Mr. 
Justice Lamar agree with me in this dissenting opinion." 

The decision in this case created great indignation among 
the people of Minnesota, and indeed throughout the whole 
country where its full meaning was understood. 

Incidents which point to a rapidly approaching National 
crisis are now almost of daily occurrence. The constant 
accretion of power resulting from the disposition of this 
Court to amplify its own jurisdiction, to obliterate State 
authority, to deny the power of the States to regulate their 
own affairs, to set bounds to the exactions of their own 
domestic corporations and to deny to Congress the author- 
ity to interpret the Constitution for itself, are among the 
ever recurring and ominous phenomena of our day. Mr. 
Jefferson said this Court would become a despotism if 
accorded the power which it claimed. We may well inquire 
whether his prediction has not been fulfilled. 

Are we never to know what our Constitution means? 
It is made to- signify one thing to-day and another to- 
morrow. The Court interprets it and that stands, perhaps, 
as the law for generations. Meantime the State legisla- 
tures, State courts, Congresses, Executives, heads of depart- 
ments — in fact the whole people accept it and mould their 
institutions accordingly. Finally new light is discovered 
and a new interpretation evolved, and institutions, whose 
growth has extended through the greater part of the Cen- 
t ary, are plucked up by the roots and the social structure 

132 A- CALL- TO ~ ACTION. 

turned upside down, We have a written Constitution, but 
the slave power claimed it for its own. Of late corpora- 
tions have taken refuge behind it. It will be the dawning 
of a glorious day when the monopoly-ridden people shall 
be able to use it as their own shield and buckler. But as 
at present interpreted, when we want fixedness of law we 
find ourselves standing upon shifting sands, and the juris- 
prudence of one generation becomes the pitfall of the next. 


Municipal law is defined by all writers on jurisprudence, 
to be a rule of action prescribed by the supreme power in 
a State. Hence, it follows that the supreme power is the 
legislative — the law-making power. The Judiciary is cer- 
tainly not the supreme power in the State. Manifestly it 
is a subordinate power. Its office is to interpret the will 
of the Legislature and to issue final process to make that 
will effective. In the absence of an express Constitutional 
provision, the interpretation given to that instrument by 
the law-making department should control. Indeed this is 
the theor}' - upon which the courts profess to proceed, but it 
is not the practice. Both the law-maker and the judge take 
an oath to support the Constitution, and there is nothing to 
interpret until the legislative department has acted. The 
legislator must necessarily first interpret the Constitution. 
In case of difference of opinion between the legislator and 
the judge, the legislative interpretation should stand, for 
the reason that the Court is not the advisor of the Legisla- 
ture, but merely translates its will. Should the Legislature 
err, the wrong can be righted by an appeal to the people 
and to the ballot-box; but who shall deliver us from the 
errors and usurpations of the Court of Last Resort, since 
they hold their positions by the life tenure and are not 
subiect to elective control ! 


The most embarrassing feature of American civilization — 
the real danger point in this era, is to be found lurking just 
where the last generation found it — in the conflict between 
the Legislative and the Judicial departments of the Gov- 
ernment. Every reform now pressing for recognition 
before the people and our law making bodies, State and 
National, is liable to find a foe ambushed in our Imperial 
Supreme Court. Freedom has been fired upon before from 
this same fortress and she is likly to again encounter a sim- 
ilar experience. Henrj^ Clews, a prominent capitalist of 
New York, in one of his weekly circulars sent out to bank- 
ing and speculative circles February 7th, 1891, said: 

"It is true that, alongside these unexpected favorable 
developments in railroad interests, there is the dishearten- 
ing revival of hostile State legislation both by the Grangers 
and Farmers' Alliance; but these attempts will be met with 
a thoroughness of opposition and with an application of 
Constitutional tests, both State and Federal, which will at 
least soon settle for the whole country what can and what 
cannot be done by this destructive sort of warfare. The 
probability seems to be, within a few months, there will be 
a great body of legal decisions showing that the farmers' 
conception of what constitutes 'reasonable charges' for car- 
riage is something very different from the conception of the 

We distinctly remember that this same Court and Dred 
Scott once differed in their conceptions of human rights 
under our Constitution. But Dred Scott's views are now 
generally accepted. It is probable that the controversy 
between the farmers and the Court will end in the same 

The constant friction between our highest legislative 
bodies and the Court is calculated to precipitate a danger- 
ous conflict just at the point where we have the right to 
expect fixedness and tranquility. The assumptions of the 


Court exalt the Judicial above the Legislative power and 
introduce into Society confusion and distrust. It is the 
destruction of the very thing which we aim to secure by 
Popular Government. It dethrones the people who should 
be Sovereign and enthrones an oligarchy. The warning 
uttered by Mr. Jefferson, in the letter set forth in this chap- 
ter, was the result of his unclouded knowledge of human 
nature and of his clear comprehension of the functions of 
Democratic Government. 

The latest case which has come to the attention of the 
writer is that of Charles Counselman vs. Frank Hitchcock, 
Marshal of the Northern District of Illinois, decided early 
in January, 1892. Counselman is a wealthy grain dealer, 
engaged in operating elevators and buying and shipping 
grain. It was charged that he was receiving special rates 
or rebates from the railroads for the shipment of his pro- 
duce. He was directed to appear before the Inter-State 
Commission and testify touching the matter. He declined 
to do so on the ground that he was a member of the com- 
pany and could not be compelled to testify against himself. 
The decision sustains Counselman. This ruling exhibits 
the utter folly of attempting to harmonize individual ava- 
rice with the public welfare, and it practically nullifies the 
Inter-State Commerce law. This is probably one of the 
decisions which Mr. Clews promised was in store for the 

It is hoped that the thoughts expressed and facts por- 
trayed in this chapter may, in some degree, aid in arousing 
the people to a sense of the serious dangers which now con- 
front them. Courts should be held to their proper sphere 
as interpreters of the law. It was not intended that they 
should blossom into law makers. When the Constitution 
is silent Congress must be the sole judge of its own implied 
powers. State Legislatures must also be permitted to pro- 


tect the people from corporate tyranny. A Century of 
experience shows that new safeguards should be provided 
and the great Tribunal must be brought back to a sense of 
its accountability to the people. 

Note— Mr. Justice Bradley died while this work was In press. This leaves 
the Court without a single member who concurred in the Grange decisions 
of 1676. 



All men have a natural right to a portion of the soil; and 
as the use of the soil is indispensable to life, the right of all 
men to the soil is as sacred as their right to life itself. 

The public lands of the United States belong to the peo- 
ple and should not be sold to individuals nor granted to 
corporations, but should be held as a sacred trust for the 
benefit of the people and should be granted in limited 
quantities, free of cost to landless settlers. — Free SoU 
Platform, 1852. 

At the commencement of the Government the broad ex- 
panse of National territory was regarded merely as a source 
of revenue. To realize money from the sale of lands 
would relieve the people of an equal amount of taxes. In 
order therefore that taxes might be light, the possessors of 
private wealth were allowed to possess themselves of pub- 
lic lands at nominal prices and without limit of quantity. 
The subsequent purchasers — the farmer and producer — 
forestalled by the private cash purchaser from the Govern- 
ment, had therefore to pay, in the price given by him, not 
only the taxes which the people escaped, but interest as 
well, and as much profit as the transaction would bear. 
This was the ' 'political economy" of the period — the ortho- 
dox political econonrv of all periods — the principle being 
to relieve accumulated property from all burdens, and to 
place all accumulated burdens upon labor and production. 


The first method adopted, therefore, for the disposal of 
public lands was by public and private sale. This system 
was applied to the Northwest territory, then to land south 
of the Ohio Kiver, then to the Louisiana purchase and to 
Florida, and finally to California. Congress apparently 
forgot to apply it to New Mexico, Utah, Colorado and 
other States and Territories, or portions of them, outside of 
the Louisiana purchase; but this slight omission in the law 
was remedied by the Interior Department, which, without 
legal authority, offered and disposed of at public and pri- 
vate sale much valuable land in those regions. Under the 
cash system, a large portion of land in the earlier public 
land States, as well as in the later ones, was sold to capit- 
alists and speculators. As population increased the de- 
mand for land increased and various expedients were 
adopted to more rapidly dispossess the United States of its 
priceless public domain. And in all these expedients, some 
good on their face, and others flagrantly bad at the start, 
speculation and monopoly were fostered and encouraged at 
the expense of actual tillage of the soil. The pre-emption 
law, originally devised for the protection of settlers against 
cash purchasers, was soon made the instrumentality of ob- 
taining lands for speculation. The first development of 
systematic fraud under this law was in the South, the 
attention of Congress having been called to pre-emption 
frauds in Mississippi as early as 1843, when a statute was 
passed for local investigation. (5th Statutes, 519.) 

The issue of Military bounty land warrants, consequent 
upon the war with Mexico, opened a wide field of specula- 
tion. With the usual short-sightedness of small economists 
it was thought a world of wisdom to save money to the 
Treasury by giving land bounties to soldiers instead of 
cash. These bounties did the soldier little good. Land 
warrants calling for one hundred and sixty acres were 


sold for $50, and years passed before the soldiers realized 
so much as $100 for their warrants. The small sums of 
money received by them were the merest trifles, but the 
lands passed to large land holders and served to build up 
great plantations in the South, and to augment speculative 
holdings in the West by seeming individual control of val- 
uable lands through the location of such warrants. Mili- 
tary warrants to the amount of seventy million acres, 
covering an area as large as the six New England States, 
with New York added, have been issued by the United 
States, very few of which have ever been located on land 
by the soldiers themselves or their heirs. They were made 
assignable for speculative purposes, and, being assignable, 
were used in a vast number of cases for purposes of specu- 
lation and monopoly. 

In 1854, a gigantic land scheme, to acquire public lands 
in quantity for next to nothing in price, was consummated 
by the passage of the "graduation act," by which lands 
that had been in market for certain terms of years were 
sold at prices ranging down from $1.00 to twelve-and-a-half 
cents per acre. Twenty-five million acres were sold at 
these prices, chiefly in the South, before the war. 

Following the cash and pre-emption system and the 
bounty land expedient, came the colossal swamp land 
grant, State grants for various purposes, and railroad land 
grants, through all of which bodies of land larger than 
some European kingdoms passed into the hands of rich 
real estate owners. Following these methods of despoiling 
the Nation of its public lands came the speculative device 
■ >f Homestead commutation, the Timber culture law, the 
Desert land act, and a great variety of scrip and* other 
land granting schemes, all tending to the one common end 
— robbery of the public lands. 



The policy of making grants of land to new States upon 
their admission into the Union has been regarded as com- 
mendable, and the results of such donations presumed to 
be beneficial to the whole community. The disadvantages 
do not appear to have been considered. Guarantees were 
not usually demanded that the proceeds should be used 
for the purposes intended, nor was care taken that the 
States got the full benefit of the proceeds. Checks were 
not placed upon the aggressive cupidity of transferees and 
agents, to prevent fraudulent claims upon the United 
States for the benefit of corporate interests succeeding to 
the State grants. And greater than all, the advantages to 
land monopoly and the additional cost of the land to its 
actual inhabitants, have never been measured. The 
granted lands for the most part have been obtained by 
actual occupants and cultivators, from speculative pur- 
chasers from the States or their grantees to whom sales 
were made in large quantity. The low price at which the 
lands have been sold by the State to capitalists and the 
grants which have been made by the States to corporations, 
have served the purposes of speculation and monopoly 
and thrown resulting burdens upon the people. That 
these have been the chief uses made of many of the benefi- 
cient grants, conspicuously the internal improvement, 
swamp, agricultural college, and school indemnity grants, 
is indisputable. 


It is well known that these grants have, as a rule, been 
monopolized by capitalists who obtained the lands from 
the States by large purchases at trifling sums. It is appre- 
hended that in some of the States it would be difficult to 


trace the disposition of the internal improvement funds, 
while there is no evidence in possession of the Govern- 
ment that whatever proceeds were derived by the States 
were used for the purposes intended. Bat there is little 
doubt that the farmers who actually obtained the lands did 
so only at speculative prices, and that the Government 
donations to the States resulted in an exaction from the 
farmers of the whole difference between Government 
prices and the sums actually paid by them to speculators. 


This grant was made in 1849-50 to enable the several 
States then in the Union "to construct the necessary levees 
and drains to reclaim the swamp and overflowed lands 
therein." It was supposed that the grant would cover 
twenty-five million acres, and that the donation would sup- 
port vast public improvements beneficial to the States, 
particularly to those on the Mississippi River. It is not 
known that any such improvements resulted from the 
grant, but the amount of lands thus far claimed under it 
is seventy-five milllion acres, an area more than equal to 
fifteen states of the size of Massachusetts, of which forty- 
seven million five hundred thousand acres are in the States 
of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi 
and Missouri, and twenty-eight million two hundred thou- 
sand acres in the States of California, Illinois, Iowa, Mich- 
igan, Minnesota, Ohio, Oregon and Wisconsin. Fifty- 
eight million seven hundred thousand acres have been 
( 1889 ) patented or certified to the States, and about 
eighteen million acres, equal to the area of the Territorial 
empire of Montana were pending in the Land Office when 
this chapter was written. 

This grant may be regarded as a public disaster to the 
States receiving it, benefiting chiefly speculators and cor- 


porations, taking away from the people homesteads and 
settlement rights under general laws of the United States, 
and resulting in no appreciable work of reclamation. In 
some instances, as in Florida and Minnesota, the swamp 
grant has been transferred by States to railroad companies 
which had already received donations of land greater in 
market value than the actual cost of the construction of the 
roads; and it appears to be the rule, as shown by the 
reports of the Commissioner of the General Land Office, 
that the best agricultural lands are largely claimed and 
have been obtained under the swamp grant, while settlers 
seeking such lands have been compelled to buy at specula- 
tive prices from the holders of the State claims. The same 
rule holds good as to timber lands, immense grants of 
which have been acquired by States under this grant, dis- 
posed of to capitalists and timber speculators, at nominal 
prices, and held for great advances in value, to be paid by 

When not given outright to corporations, lands have 
been sold to first purchasers at prices ranging from twelve- 
and-a-half cents to $1.00 per acre. At what prices they 
get into the hands of actual inhabitants can only be con- 
jectured, but may be estimated to range from $5.00 to $10 
per acre on ordinary private sales, up to whatever price 
especially valuable lands may command. The States 
receive an average of say from fifty to sixty cents per 
acre, while the actual occupier and user of the land must 
pay not less than $5.00 per acre, as a low average. The 
account then stands thus: 

Total volume of grant (acres) 75,000,000 

Possible net result to States $ 45,000,000 

Probable actual cost of the land to final pur- 
chasers from State grantees $375,000,000 


Such are some of the practical results of the swamp 
land grant. 

Commissioner Sparks asserts that the Swamp land grant 
has been a prolific source of fraud and corruption. He 

"Personal interest has prompted the grantees of the 
States to exert all possible means to swell their claims, and 
their plans have been made largely successful by the aid of 
a loose administration of the laws. 

"Agents undertake the prosecution of the claims upon 
commissions, amounting in some cases to fifty per cent, of 
the proceeds, and, invested with authority to represent the 
State, make selections of land or file claims for indemnity, 
which they insist is due the State, and manage to enlist the 
representatives of the State in support of their demands. 
They have thus succeeded in carrying their selections 
through and obtaining patents, or money indemnity, for 
many tracts of land which are as valuable for agricultural 
purposes, or for timber or minerals, as any in the United 
States, upon the alleged ground that the same are rendered 
unfit for cultivation by reason of their swampy character or 
liability to overflow. 

"Experience has demonstrated the fact that reports of 
former agents of this office are quite generally unreliable, 
and in nearly every case a re-examination is necessary to 
ascertain the true character of the land. 

"Out of forty-five tracts in Oregon reported to be 
swamp land by an agent of this office in 1883, thirty-eight 
were found, upon re-examination by the present agent, to 
be dry land, most of which can be greatly improved by irri- 

"A recent report shows that about thirty -four thousand 
acres of land in the same State, approved upon the reports 
of a former agent, were fraudulently reported as swamp, 
and were undoubtedly not within the terms of the grant, 
being mainly hills, mountains, or sage brush plains, 
selected for the real purpose of securing the approaches to 
the waters of lakes, rivers and creeks. The most unblush- 
ing frauds have been practiced in the selection of alleged 


swamp lands by parties claiming as purchasers of swamp 
lands from the State. By means of false affidavits, fraudu- 
lent surveys, and bribery of agents, these parties have man- 
aged to obtain control of most of the lands bordering on 
lakes and water courses, shutting out intending settlers 
from access to water, and illegally monopolizing for pas- 
turage thousands of acres of public lands without payment 
of a dollar to the Government; and settlers who, notwith- 
standing the difficulty of obtaining water, have gone upon 
these lands, even when not selected as swamp, are threat- 
ened and often driven off by violence, while their crops are 
levied upon under color of a pretended title from the State. 
I am glad to be able to report that six indictments for 
forger}', and three for conspiracy to defraud the Govern- 
ment, have been found against persons connected with 
these frauds, and only regret that the statute of limitation 
prevents the punishment of the parties who have realized 
the most of the profits of their crimes." (Land Office 
Report, 1887, p. 38.) 

Referring to similar examples in 1886, the Commis- 
sioner said: 

" The reckless method of swamp and swamp-indemnity 
selection, demonstrated in the foregoing examples, which 
apparently proceeds upon the theory that no claim upon 
the Government can be too excessive, floods this office with 
a vast amount of unnecessary work, and involves the Gov- 
ernment in a continued expense in establishing by exam- 
ination and evidence the validity or falsity of claims many 
of which are prima facie without merit. 

The instances above cited are in no respect exceptional. 
They may be regarded as examples of the general char- 
acter of swamp land and swamp-land-indemnity claims 
with which this office is overwhelmed, and as a fair index of 
claims which for vears past have been approved." — Land 
Office Report 1886, /;. 43. 

"Swamp selections, work reservations of the land until 
the alleged claim is disposed of, and settlers are compelled 
to institute contests to save their land or secure the right 
of entry. The general result of contests against existing 


swamp- land claims is that in 75 per cent of the cases tried, 
the swamp selection is rejected upon testimony taken at 
hearings, thus further proving the unfounded if not fraud- 
ulent character of the original selections." — Ibid, p. 1+1. 

In making original swamp selections it appears to be the 
present practice of State agents to select the entire body of 
lands in the vicinity of rivers and creeks, as well as all 
classed by the surveys as low, wet and bottom lands, and 
to demand the approval by this department of such claims. 
—Ihidp. Jf.1. 

One-half of the entire area of Florida is claimed under 
the swamp land grant, and nearly half of the entire state 
has been patented under that grant, but it has yet to be 
learned that the State has ever expended one dollar of the 
proceeds in the reclamation of the swamps and overflowed 
lands, the major part of which probably remain in the 
Government, it being pretty well understood that the swamp 
claim takes the good land, leaving the bad to be hereafter 
developed by public contribution. In this state the grant 
was transferred by the Legislature to railroad companies 
who made the selections, railroaded the patents through the 
Land Office, and, with their agents and collusive assignees, 
became the landed proprietors from whom those seeking 
orange groves or homes in Florida's luxurious climate must 
make their purchases. The United States has little or no 
good land to dispose of in Florida — the railroads have — 
but the condition of railroad service in that state does not 
indicate that the proceeds are used for any public ad- 

In Illinois, whose proud boast it is that there are no 
naturally uncultivable lands in its broad domain, nearly 
one-eighth of its territory has been claimed as swamp. In 
Wisconsin, one-eighth of the territory of the state has been 
claimed as swamp. In Iowa, one-eighth is so claimed. In 
Missouri, more than one-tenth. In Michigan, one-fifth. In 


Arkansas, one-third- While in Louisiana nearly one-half 
of all the land in the state has been solemnly sworn to as 
"swamp and overflowed, and rendered thereby unfit for 
cultivation." In this state it is understood that a late gov- 
ernor made a contract with his brother by which the state 
pays to the gubernatorial relative fifty per cent, of all that 
can be obtained from the United States under the swamp 
land grant. Other States, as reported by the Commissioner, 
are said to pay from ten and fifteen up to forty per cent, 
for the same purpose. (Land Office Keport 1885, page 46.) 

These agents and their attorneys, masquerading in the 
name of the state, and sometimes with the interested in- 
fluence of the State Executives behind them, have haunted 
Congress for years to procure legislation extending the 
indemnity provisions of the swamp land grant so as to 
cover the intervening period between 1857 and the present 

To disclose the enormity of this scheme, its utter want of 
foundation, and precisely what it means, it is necessary to 
recur to the original measure. 

Upon the passage of the swamp land act in 1850, the 
states caused selections to be made en masse of lands claimed 
as swamp, sweeping in the rich arable valleys, and the 
homes and improvements of thousands of settlers. The 
Supreme Court with its customary leanings in favor of 
"grants," quickly decided that the swamp act made a grant 
in present?', taking effect at its passage, and conveying a 
perfect title by operation of law. Settlers and intending 
settlers were caught in the toil. Those who had not gone 
upon and selected land could not do so, although they 
might know them to be high and dry, for the approval of 
the selections by the General Land Office and the Depart- 
ment of the Interior was a mere matter of routine. They 



were all approved. Those who had gone upon good agri- 
cultural land — and it may be safely presumed that none had 
gone upon any other, were compelled to remove or bu} 1 " 
their lands from state claimants. In some cases and before 
the doctrine of "present grant" had culminated in the can- 
cellation of settlement entries conflicting with the swamp 
claim, a few patents had been issued to settlers for lands 
embraced in the subsequent "swamp" selections. Here was 
opportunit} 7 for magnifying the swamp steal under the pre- 
text of "relieving settlers," and in 1855, an act was passed 
confirming to the few settlers who had obtained patents the 
land which had probably belonged to them without confir- 
mation, and allowing the states indemnity in lands or 
money, as the case might be, for the "swamplands so lost" 
to the grant, at the same time adroitly confirming to the 
states all their selections of dry land. This measure was 
pending two years before its passage, during which time 
selections of dry lands were crowded into the Land Office 
in anticipation of such result. The Surveyor General of 
Missouri, protesting at the time against the passage of the 
"relieving" act, declared that if it became a law "the 
mountain tops would be claimed as swamp." The act 
passed, and by a trick of legislative legerdemain was after- 
wards extended to 1857. It is needless to say that the pre- 
diction of the Surveyor General of Missouri became literally 
true. Commissioner Sparks sa3's: 

"From the commencement of proceedings under the 
swamp-land grant, selections have been made to include 
large amounts of land not swamp, and by the acts of 
March 2, 1855, and March 3, 1857, Congress sought to 
close the matter of confirming the selections that had been 
made up to that date. Notwithstanding this, claims for 
large amounts of land which by no means fell within the 
terms of the original grant have continually been pre- 


The acts of March 2, 1855, and March 3, 1857, also pro- 
vided for indemnity for swamp and overflowed lands 
disposed of by the United States between the date of the 
grant and the date of said acts, and, through the practice 
of presenting broadcast claims under these acts, $1,500,000 
in money has already been drawn from the Treasury, and 
upwards of 570,000 acres of land patented as indemnity." 
—Zand Office Report, 1887, p. 37. 


This was the best regulated of all the grants made to the 
States, Congress having made provision in the act to secure 
the college funds, but in this case as in others, the cost 
of the land to the purchasers from the grantees of the 
States has made the donation an expensive experiment — to 
them. A total of about ten million acres has been granted 
for Agricultural Colleges. The aggregate funds derived 
by the States from this source amount to little more than 
seven million dollars. (See The Public Domain, First 
Edition, pp. 220-231, and subsequent Land Office Re- 
ports.) The average is about 75 cents per acre. As the 
great body of the locations under this grant was made at a 
time when the most valuable lands of the Government 
were subject to such location, and as selections were made 
of choice timber lands as well as of select agricultural lands, 
it is fair to estimate that but a small portion of these lands 
would get into the hands of final purchasers from State 
grantees at a less price than five dollars per acre. In 
other words it is fair to say that to put seven million dol- 
lars into Agricultural College funds by means of this 
grant, has probably cost the farmers and producers of the 
country nearly $50,000,000 in the enhanced price they 
have paid for their lands above the Government price at 
which the same land could have been obtained, had there 
been no such grant. 



In 1886 an act was passed giving to the State of Nevada 
two million acres of land to be selected at pleasure, in lien 
of its grant of sixteenth and thirty-sixth sections for com- 
mon schools. This act was advocated on the plausible 
ground that so much of the state was mountainous and the 
land not adapted to agriculture, that school sections in 
place were of little value, and, for the laudable purpose of 
promoting education the state should be permitted to give 
up its worthless school selections and to select good land 
instead. The practical result is thus tersely stated in the 
Report of the Commissioner of the General Land Office 
for 1886, page 13: 

"The grant by Congress of two million acres to be selected 
by the State in lieu of sections sixteen and thirty-six will, 
it is believed, absorb the whole of, and probably more than, 
the available agricultural lands and principal sources of 
water supply, leaving the remainder of the lands op the 


purchasers of the state school lands. The surveys that 
are urged in this State are desired chiefly for thf 1 benefit of 
such purchasers. The result of this legislation and situa- 
tion must necessarily be the prevention of the settlement of 
the country and the permanent industrial and political 


It is understood as a fact that large schemes had been 
organized in pursuance of the plan of seizing the State 
under this legislation which was pretended to be for the 
benefit of common schools, and that the United States Sur- 
veyor General was one of the parties having large contracts 
for the purchase of school lands; also that he had caused 
certain lands to be retained as surve}^ed in order to consum- 
mate purchases, and that this particular branch of the con- 


spiracy was defeated by the discovery that the surveys were 
fraudulent. (Land Office Keport, 1887, pp. 236 to 240.) 

Concurrently, also, with the passage of "The Lien Act" 
a special appropriation of $30,000 was made *'for the sur- 
vey of public lands in Colorado," which the schemers 
expected to utilize for their purposes, and it is shown by 
the Land Office Records that the Surveyor General urged 
the speedy use of the money to enable the State to sell the 
lien land, which meant to enable the syndicates to make 
ring purchases of these lands. It appears that the money 
was not used as these persons desired, and this caused a 
virulent Senatorial attack upon the Land Office at the next 
session of Congress, showiDg the disappointment then 
experienced. It is inevitable that the lien grant to Nevada 
must be the perpetual curse of that State, since it places in 
the possession of capitalistic purchasers the most available 
lands susceptible of cultivation and a monopoly of the 
waters of the State. The future tiller of the soil must per- 
force become a serf of the land barons created by this 
school grant. 


In 1881-2-3 an extensive conspiracy was developed, hav- 
ing for its purpose the capture and monopoly of hundreds 
of thousands of acres of valuable coal and iron lands in 
Alabama through fraudulent pre-emption and homestead 
entries. Foreign capital to the amount of millions of dol- 
lars was enlisted in this "business enterprise." Investiga- 
tions were made by agents of the Land Office, and numer- 
ous suits, civil and criminal, were brought against the 
wealthy perpetrators of the frauds. It was necessary that 
something should be done to save the "interests of capital," 
and to protect "vested rights," which had been acquired 
by fraud and perjury. Accordingly a bill was introduced 


in Congress to "relieve the State of Alabama from the 
operation of the mineral laws." This bill became a "Sen- 
atorial issue," and was carried through by the personal 
efforts of distinguished statesmen, representing the coal 
and iron companies, and became a law in 1883, but not, as 
understood, until certain other distinguished statesmen had 
been admitted to a share in speculative enterprises con- 
nected therewith. 

The object of this act was to dismiss all pending suits 
and investigations, charge up to profit and loss account of 
the Government, the large sums of money that had been 
expended in futile efforts to protect these valuable lands, 
and to turn over to capitalists whole counties of coal fields 
and vast beds of iron ore at $1.25 per acre, instead of com- 
pelling them to pay So per acre for iron lands and -$10 
and $20 per acre for coal lands, as the mineral laws re- 
quired. A small body of the lands, perhaps from fifty 
thousand to one hundred thousand acres, was, however, 
not at once included in the surrender. These were lands 
that had been specially reported upon, and it was provided 
as to such, that the)' should not be open to entry until first 
offered at public sale. The purpose of this provision was, 
of course, to secure the specially reported lands in bulk at 
private entty at SI. 25 per acre. But a hitch occurred as to 
this remnant of the great Alabama coal and iron land steal. 
Distinguished gentlemen who had presented this bill and 
secured its passage were urgent that the contemplated sale 
should be made! Other gentlemen, not so distinguished 
perhaps, but claiming to represent the people of the State, 
succeeded in delaying the proceedings. The knot of the 
difficulty was, however, cut in a very simple manner. In 
1884 an act had been passed increasing the endowment of 
the University of Alabama by an additional grant of land. 


and by a recent decision of the Secretary of the Interior 
the reserved mineral lands are allowed to be selected. So, 
under the disguise of "University selections," the vast 
remaining mineral lands in Alabama passed to the 
wealthy combinations. 


The seizure of public lands by corporations and capital- 
ists through the medium of Congressional grants professedly 
made "to aid in the construction of railroads," has been a 
striking example of reckless legislation, of flagrant disre . 
gard of public interests, and of the corrupting power of 
money to procure gigantic steals, enlarge the robberies 
by Executive administration, and protect the plunderers by 
judicial decisions. The blackest pages in the history of 
legislative, administrative and judicial procedure in this 
country are undoubtedly connected with the railroad land 
grant system. The total amount of land embraced in un- 
forfeited railroad land grants is estimated at one hundred 
and fifty million acres, an area exceeding that of the com- 
bined states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, 
Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, 
New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Vir- 
ginia, nearly one hundred million of which is forfeitable 
under the granting acts. 

In his annual report for 1885, pp. 44, 45, Commissioner 
Sparks discussing this point, said: 

The matter of declaring these forfeitures and restoring 
the forfeited lands to the public domain is prominently 
before the country, and has awakened and excites keen 
public interest. The amount of unpatented lands em- 
braced in all the grants subject to declaration of forfeiture 
is estimated at one hundred million acres, an area equal to 
lhat of the combined States of New York, New Jersey, Penn- 
sylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. The restora- 


tion to public settlement and entry of this great body of 
lands is a subject of the first magnitude and of profound 
National importance. The question presented is strictly 
one of legal right. The rights of the corporations have 
been upheld for twenty and thirty j^ears. The Govern- 
ment has not been in laches. The lands have been kept in 
reservation, material for building the roads has been 
freely supplied from the public domain, and extensions of 
time for constructions have been allowed. The default of 
the companies has been voluntary. The rights of the pub- 
lic are now to be considered — the right of the people to 
repossess themselves of their own. The case is not one 
calling for s}'mpathy for the corporations; it is one calling 
for justice to the people of the county. In the manage- 
ment of their grants, as of their roads, railroad companies 
have shown little sympathy for the public — none for set- 
tlers and citizens whose presence and labor were building 
up traffic, and whose earnings were paying all the traffic 
would bear over roads constructed by public bounty. 
Holding their own claims through the indulgence of the 
Government, delinquent corporations have pursued settlers 
with the strong forces of corporate power, not only from 
local tribunals to the executive department, but from the 
executive department to the courts, to wrest from them the 
homes they had acquired within the boundaries of railroad 
grants. It is my information that a patent from the United 
States to a settler under an award by adjudication of this 
department is not security to his rights against a railroad 
company, but that the policy of compelling settlers to 
defend their patents in the Courts has been systematically 
adopted by some of the companies baring the largest 
grants and being in laches to the government in respect to 
their own obligations. Appeals have been made to me by 
holders of such patents, asking for aid I had no means to 
give, in defense of their titles, which the\ r said they could 
not maintain at their own cost against vexatious, dilatory, 
and expensive proceedings, forced upon them to compel 
them to purchase from the companies the quiet of the titles 
which they had, after protracted struggle, obtained from 
the United States. Those who seek equity should do 


equity; those who demand charity should show some 
regard for the rights of others and of their donors. 

"It is my opinion that the right and power vested in 
Congress of enforcing the forfeitures that have been 
incurred should be exercised. A failure or refusal to exer- 
cise the legislative jurisdiction may be construed as a con- 
tinuance or renewal of the grants. I misunderstand the 
sentiment and mistake the temper of the people if renewals 
of forfeited land grants in any form or manner is in conso- 
nance with their views of public policy or their demands 
for public justice. 

'"However improvident the original grants were, the 
Government was bound to maintain its obligations so lono- 
as the companies kept theirs. But the failure of one party 
is the release of the other. An opportunity is now pre- 
sented for the legal recovery of a public estate long held 
hi abeyance. Having been forfeited, it should now be 
resumed. I respectfully recommend that forfeitures be 
declared in all cases in which the roads were not completed 
in the manner and within the time prescribed by law, 
and that the unpatented lands be restored to the public 

Railroad grants in the State of Iowa cover an area larger 
in size than the surface of the two States of Connecticut 
and Rhode Island. In each of the States of Michigan and 
Wisconsin an area nearly as large. Railroad grants in Min- 
nesota would make two States just the size of Massachu- 
setts, one of which was donated to the promoters of the 
Northern Pacific Railroad Company. In Kansas, railroad 
grants would make the two States of Connecticut and New 
Jersey. In Nebraska, a territory larger than the State of 
New Hampshire is given to railroad companies. Three 
States of the size of New Hampshire could be carved out of 
railroad grants in California. Another New Hampshire 
is found within railroad limits in Oregon, and the State of 
Rhode Island could be placed in the Oregon wagon road 
grants. In Dakota the Northern Pacific gets as much land 


as there is in the two States of New Jersey and Connecti- 
cut. In Montana the grant to the same company is as 
large as the whole of Maryland, New Jersey, and Massa- 
chusetts. In Idaho the same company gets a State of 
Delaware, and in "Washington Territory its grant equals in 
extent the size of the three States of New Jersey, New 
Hampshire and Massachusetts. 

It was held by Commissioner Sparks that this company 
had absolutely no legal rights whatever to an acre of land 
west of the Missouri river, for the reason not only that no 
road was built west of the river, but that no road west of 
the river was even definitely located until after the time 
when by law and contract the time for construction had 
expired, and hence that no legal rights attached. These 
could vest only upon definite location and definite location 
could not be made after the expiration of the grant. He 
found no equities in the company to lands west of the 
Missouri, because the lands east of the river, if the com- 
pany were allowed to retain them, exceeded by far the 
actual cost of constructing the whole road. Is it any 
wonder that Sparks and LcBarnes had to go ? 

The reckless character of railroad land grants is worthy 
of more extended remarks than can be here given. The 
first of these grants was made to Illinois. It is notorious 
that the road paid a profit independent of the land grant 
on every division as fast as constructed. Contractors even 
got rich by completing the roads in advance of time and 
running them for their own benefit until turned over under 
the contracts. It is notorious further, that none of the 
aided roads — except the Union and Central Pacific and 
perhaps the California and Oregon — were built until a 
jrofit in construction could be seen without the aid of 
the land grants; and the two former were built with 


the ro.0D.e3- of the Government and not with the money of 
the corporations. The land grants have been almost 
invariably regarded and used as the private plunder of the 
incorporators of the company and not for the purpose of 
building the roads. 

Immediately upon the procurement of a grant and tiling 
in the land office a map of purported definite location, 
descriptive lists of the lands were obtained from the 
Department of the Interior, the lands sold to collusive 
syndicates or to outside purchasers, and the building of the 
roads was frequently left to those who might come after* 

The early grants were made to States for the benefit of 
railroad companies and were in each case for the public 
land in a specified number of alternate sections on each 
side of the road, not including in such grants any land pre- 
viously reserved or disposed of by the United States, or to 
which a pre-emption right had attached at date of grant or 
which should have attached at date of the definite location 
of the line of the road. 

There was no provision of law in these early grants for 
the issue of patents or certificates to the State or railroad 
company. After the road was definitely located the State 
might sell the land in alternate sections, for a distance of 
twenty miles. When twenty miles of road were built and 
accepted, twenty miles more of the granted land might be 
sold. If the land was occupied by a pre-emption settler at 
the date of the grant the company could not sell that land. 
If occupied by a settler at date of definite location it could 
not be sold, but other land could be taken in place of it. 

If the law had been allowed its course no settler's land 
would ever have been given to a railroad company, because 
a settler need only prove that he or some other person was 
living on the land or claiming it under the laws of the 


United States at the date of grant or at date of definite 
location of the road, as the case might be, and any sale or 
attempted sale of such land by the State or railroad com- 
pany would have been absolute^ void. 

But the officers of the Interior Department, without 
authority of law, and in defiance of the rights of the set- 
tlers, certified to the States or companies, outright, millions 
of acres of land regardless of claims that might be upon 
the land, or of any just claim that might be entitled to be 
afterwards placed upon the land. 

More than that, they certified such lands when no road 
hid been built, and before any road had been commenced, and 
before it was known whether the State or the companies 
would ever be entitled to the land, except the quantity 
allowed for the first twenty miles, or how much land they 
would ever be entitled to, or the time when they would be 
entitled to it. 

More than that, they unlawfully and fraudulently certi- 
fied millions of acres of indemnity lands when no indem- 
nity had been earned, when no road had been built, no losses 
to the grant ascertained, no losses sustained, and no indem- 
nity right acquired io any land whatever. 

These certificates passed a presumptive title to the rail- 
road companies, sufficient to enable the land to be sold by 
the companies before the time when the law allowed such 
sale, and sufficient to enable them to attack and defeat 
existing settlement claims, and to prevent the attachment 
of other settlers' rights, which the law had in terms secured 
to the inhabitants of the country through which the roads 
ran. The following statement, compiled from official 
sources, and covering the years 185T, 1858, and 1859, is 
given as an example of this line of procedure, which com- 
menced soon after the first railroad grants were made, and 
was continued for an indefinite period thereafter: 



jo eirfp in 


3 g 

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o o o o o 

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a a 
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$5 » ££55 53 55 535353 

o o 


o c o 

c a 
o o 
53 53 


o OCO"* 

t- irft-co 

o ici-to 

o i-cO'** 

ico oco — 

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o t- o o t> n 1!5 t- 

CO co Hl-t- t- O GO 

ci t- ot- — coot-: 


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o. ** o — o 

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ci ■"? — ro o 
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CO CO t-^ C» CO 

cc --c: co — t- 

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fO CD 
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CI CO OOCO CO o uoro — 
O CJ CSGOO -SI •** f-COi-l 

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co 30 ex; co Co - 

tfOO LO O t-O O HO - 


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It will be seen that in the three years mentioned as a 
specimen of land office practice, upwards of six million 
acres were certified when only one hundred and seventy- 
six and a half miles of road had been built! It is apparent 
from the Land Office Reports that the bulk of all the rail- 
road lands certified under State grants, amounting to some 
30,000,000 acres, were thus prematurely conveyed, and in 
some instances the roads are not yet built, and in others 
are only partially constructed. 

Analyzing the preceding Exhibit and obtaining official 
data to make an illustrative example of the effect of pre- 
mature certifications of railroad land, I take four grants in 
the State of Iowa and find the following to be the facts: 

The Burlington and Missouri River Road earned no 
indemnity lands before November 26, 1869, for until that 
time the road had not been built. It had no risrht to any 
granted lands until after March 3, 1865, the date of the 
passage of an act authorizing a change in the line of the 
road. Until after that time there was no definite location 
that fixed the route of the road on the line upon which it 
was constructed. Yet ninety thousand acres within unde- 
termined granted limits were certified for the company in 
1859, and in the same year the officers of the Interior 
Department took from settlement right one hundred and 
forty thousand acres of land in indemnity limits, and with- 
out authority of law or equitable excuse gave these lands to 
the railroad. 

The Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Road was not 
completed until June 6, 1869. Until that date indemnity 
rights were incomplete. The line having been changed 
there was no actual definite location until construction, and 
no right to any granted land could be acquired until the 
entire definite line was designated. But ten years before 
the rights of the company under the railroad grant were 


legally established, the Department of the Interior robbed 
citizens of Iowa of three hundred and eighty-seven thou- 
sand acres of land which were given to this compaary 
through premature and unlawful certifications. 

The Dubuque and Pacific Road (afterwards Cedar 
Rapids and Missouri River, Dubuque and Sioux City, and 
Iowa Falls and Sioux City) to which the Interior Depart- 
ment gave one million seven hundred thousand acres as 
early as 1858, never built any road on the line of selections, 
never built but eighty miles of road altogether under the 
grant, on account of which it was given seven hundred 
thousand acres as granted lands, and one million acres of 
indemnity, and had not earned one acre of the one million 
indemnity at the time these lands were unlawfully trans- 
ferred to it. 

Settlers and purchasers of land along the four great 
lines of railroad which cross the State of Iowa, who paid 
more than $1.25 per acre for their lands between 1856 and 
1865 and later, have somebody to thank, and it might be 
well for them to inquire whom. 

In October, 1881, the Senate Committee on Public Lands 
was instructed by resolution to inquire into the condition 
of the General Land Office. The inquiry was commenced 
in December, 1881, and the committee reported April 3, 
1882. (Senate Report No. 362, First Session, Forty-first 
Congress.) In the course of this inquiry Mr. J. W. 
LeBarnes, then and for several years afterward Law Clerk 
of the General Land Office, was examined and gave his 
testimony in the matter of railroad administration in the 
Department of the Interior. The statement of this officer 
will be found on pages 89 to 105 and pages 113 to 151, 
inclusive, of said report, and is a most scathing arraign- 
ment of the illegal practices, unjust decisions, and corpor- 
ation-inspired policy which had habitually marked the 


history of proceedings in the Land Department in its 
administration of railroad grants and its treatment of 
conflicting interests of settlers and of the rights of the 


Referring to railroad grants in Iowa, a volume of 
injustice and oppression, of railroad audacity and official 
mendacity, collusion and outrage is compressed in the 
following brief paragraphs fo»?nd in the printed testimony: 

"Tn 1856 (11 Stat., 9) a grant of land was made to the 
State of Iowa, which was transferred by the State to the 
Iowa Central Air Line Railway Company. This company 
constructed no road, but became insolvent: 775,717 61-100 
acres of land were, however, approved to the State for the 
benefit of the road. In 1860 the Legislature of Iowa 
resumed control of the grant and transferred it to the 
Cedar Rapids & Missouri River Railroad Company on 
certain conditions. 

"In 1861 (13 Stat, 96) Congress recognized this trans- 
fer, and made a new grant to the company of the same 
lands and the same amount of lands as originally granted 
to the State. It also authorized a change in the location of 
the road, and the construction of a branch line. But as 
the former company had built no road, and it was uncer- 
tain whether the road would be constructed, large numbers 
of settlers had gone on the lands within the limits of the 
original grant of 1856. Congress therefore provided that 
the conveyance of lands under this grant should not 
embrace any lands within such original limits which had 
been sold or pre-empted, or to which a pre-emption right 
or homestead settlement had attached, or on which a bona 
fide settlement and improvement had been made under 
color of title from the United States or the State of Iowa; 
and to allow for deficiencies in the grant it was provided 
that if the amount of land originally intended to be granted 
under the act of 1856, could not be found within the limits 
prescribed by that act, then selections to make up such 
amount might be made within a distance of twenty miles 


from the new line of road. The original grant was for 
alternate odd-nnmbered sections within six miles on each 
side of the road, with the right to select indemnity in odd- 
numbered sections within fifteen miles. The new act 
increased the indemnity limits as stated. It was also pro- 
vided that whenever the modified main lines should* be 
established, or the connecting line located, the company 
should file a map definitely showing such modified line and 
connecting branch. When this should be done the Secre- 
tary of the Interior was to reserve, and cause to be certi- 
fied to the company as the work progressed, the lands to 
which it would be entitled under the grant. The map of 
definite location required to be filed in the General Land 
Office as a condition prcedent to the reservation of any 
lands for the benefit of the grant was never filed. There 
was, therefore, never any authority of law for the with- 
drawal of any lands under this grant. A general with- 
drawal of all the public lands in Iowa was, however, made 
in June, 1861, for the benefit of railroad grants. It was 
stated that this withdrawal was made at the request of the 
Iowa delegation in Congress. No act of Congress author- 
ized it. In August, 1864, this withdrawal was modified so 
as not to inhibit pre-emption and homestead entries. In 
June, 1865, the modification was annulled, and all entries 
made under it were suspended. In July, 1866, an order 
was made to restore to market all lands in the State that 
had previously been withdrawn. In September, 1866, the 
execution of this order was suspended. In August, 1867, 
the order was again issued, and the restoration was made 
by public notice. In 1875 the department decided the 
restoration to have been illegal, and all pending entries 
made under it were canceled. Where patents had been 
issued, but not delivered, they were called for and with- 

"These proceedings, which were wholly of departmental 
authority, affected the lands within the limits of the grant 
to the Cedar Rapids & Missouri River Railroad Company 
equally with all other lands in the State. Then in the 
adjudication of the claims of settlers it was held by this 
office that the right of this company under the grant of 



1864: attached to all the lands embraced in the original 
grant to the State, from the date of the original grant in 
1856; and the rights of settlers who had gone on the lands 
between 1856 and 1861, and which were legally protected 
by the statute, and for which protection additional indem- 
nity selections were allowed to the company, were 
rejected. It was further held that the right of indemnity 
selection provided for by the act of 1861 was an absolute 
grant, that it embraced both odd and even numbered sec- 
tions within the limits of twenty miles, and that it took 
effect upon the date of the passage of the act. Under the 
statutory provision requiring a map of definite location to 
be filed before any lands could be reserved, the rights of 
settlers who settled before such map was filed, and in 
default of the filing of the map, before actual selection of 
the land for the company after the construction of the road, 
were protected in their settlements. Under the rulings of 
this office these rights were not recognized, but the lands 
and improvements of such settlers were decreed to the 
railroad. These proceedings went on until the lands taken 
from the settlers had aided in swelling the grant far beyond 
its maximum limits. Cases of this kind have been decided 
in this manner down to the present time, and others are 
still pending. 

"What is true of this grant is also true of several other 
grants in the State of Iowa, except as to the amount of 
land received by the companies in excess of the amount to 
which they were entitled. That is a matter I have not 
investigated. But the decisions affecting the rights of 
settlers were, I believe, of the same character as here stated. 

"Q. Where lands are awarded to railroad companies in 
the way you have mentioned in your testimony do the 
companies receive money from the settlers for the sake of 
quieting the settlers' titles? A. Yes, sir; I have heard of 
settlers paying as much as fifty dollars an acre for land 
awarded to the railroads in this way." — (Testimony, pp., 

It being impossible in the limited pages of this book to 
present more than a few instances to illustrate the general 
character of railroad mal-administration in the Department 


of the Interior, I take the foregoing case as a pertinent 
example of the infamous methods exposed by this testi- 
mony in the robbery of public lands in Iowa. It must be 
remembered, also, that the Iowa case is an example only 
and not an exception: Classifying the points in the above 
testimony it is seen that the witness asserts: 

I. That the law required a map of definite location to 
be filed before any lands could legally be withdrawn from 
entry by the Secretary of the Interior. 

II. That such map was not filed. 

III. That lands were withdrawn, all the same, by com- 
placent officers of the Government, and that these with- 
drawals were for the benefit of the four lines of road across 
the State and included all public lands in the State. The 
tergiversations of withdrawals, restorations and revocation 
of restorations, make a confusing medley in which settlers 
were caught as in a vise, while the land, including their 
improvements, passed to the railroad company. 

IY. That the Land Office, incorrectly and in violation 
of the statute, held that the grant of July 2, 1864, was an 
absolute grant, and that it took effect upon the passage of 
the act, and operated upon all lands within the prescribed 
limits, while, in fact, the act only made an indemnity pro- 
vision which did not operate on any lands whatever until 
the company had made its selections to compensate for 
ascertained deficiencies, and in no case until after the map 
of definite location had been filed. The Land Office made 
the act take effect as an absolute grant upon all lands in 
July, 1861. In the case of Cedar Rapids R. R. Co. vs. 
Hening and others, decided by the United States Supreme 
Court in 1881 (110 U. S., 27), the Court sustained the views 
expressed in the statement above referred to, and held that 
the act of 1864 allowed indemnity only; that the indemnity 
right did not attach to any lands until the proper selection 


was made ; that the Secretary of the Interior had no right 
to make arrf withdrawal until the map of definite location 
was filed, and the Court upheld the patents involved in the 
twenty-nine cases embraced in this suit. In some of these 
cases the lands had been patented before withdrawal and in 
others not until aftewards. (See Guilford Miller case, 
Land Office Report, 1885, p. 206). 

So, by the decision of the Supreme Court, with all its 
leanings in favor of railroad corporations and its habitual 
methods of deciding in favor of such corporations upon 
even the flimsiest of pretexts, the basis of every order and 
decision of the Land Office making withdrawals under this 
grant and rejecting settlers' claims for conflict with it, was 
invalidated and the rulings of the Land Office shown to be 
illegal and absurd. The Court say that it was the purpose 
of the act to authorize certain changes in the line of the 
road, and "To adjust the amount of lands to which the 
company would be entitled under this new order of things 
and to enlarge the source from which selections might be 
made for the loss of those not found in place." Cedar 
Rapids cases, supra. 

The land office held that the act made a new grant out- 
right, and so awarded the lands to the railroad company. 
After it was too late to protect the people, the Court said 
that the act only enlarged the area within which the indem- 
m\y selections could be made, and gave the company no 
right to the lands unless a right of indemnity selection 
existed, and not then until selections were lawfully made. 

"It is not easy to see how rights can be vested in any 

f)articular section or sections of the latter class (indemnity 
ands) until it is ascertained how man} of the original odd 
numbered sections are thus lost and until the grantee has 
exercised his right of selection." (Ibid.) 

The Court said that the Secretary of the Interior had no 
right to make any withdrawal until December 1, 1867, a 


period of three years and a half after withdrawals were 

The following official correspondence shows that Law 
Clerk Le Barnes was correct, in stating that the withdrawal 
of these lands was made at the request of the Iowa delega- 
tion in Congress : 

Department of the Interior, ) 
Washington, June 16, 1861. f 
The Commissioner of the General Land Office : 

Sir: Having considered your report of the 2d instant, 
inclosing the request of the Congressional delesration from 
Iowa representing the wishes of the people of the State, I 
have deemed it expedient, for the purpose of facilitating 
the adjustment of the several grants of land recently made 
by Congress to the State of Iowa, to direct that all the pub- 
lic lands therein now remaining unsold be withdrawn from 
entry and location by individuals, thus terminating for the 
present all the ordinary disposals of said lands. 

This order will not interfere with the completion of the 
selections by the State under the grant for agricultural col- 
leges, etc. 

In view of the above order, and the reduced quantity of 
public lands remaining in the State, I have to request that 
you will advise me, as soon as practicable, whether some of 
the land offices in Iowa might not be discontinued and their 
business transferred to other offices, pursuant to the pro- 
visions of the fifth section of the act of Congress approved 
May 30, 1862. 

The papers that accompanied your letters of the 2d and 
7th instant are now returned. 

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

J. P. Usher, Secretary. 

Department of the Interior, ] 
General Land Office, \ 
June 16, 1861. J 
Register and Receiver, 

Des Moines, Iowa : 
The Secretary of the Interior, at the request of the Iowa 
delegation in Congress, has directed that all the public 


lands in said State be withdrawn from entry and location 
by individuals, with a view to facilitate the adjustment of 
the several grants of land recently made by Congress to 
the State of Iowa. You are, therefore, hereby instructed 
to withdraw from sale, location, homestead entry, or pre- 
emption claim, all the public lands in your district now 
subject to sale from the date of the receipt of this letter, 
excepting only you will allow the completion of the selec- 
tions by the State under the grant for agricultural colleges. 

The receipt of this you will promptly acknowledge, 
stating the date at which it may reach you, thus interdicting 
hereafter the disposal of any tract with the exception men- 

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant. 

J. M. Edmunds, 

(Copy of this sent to land offices at Sioux City, Council 
Bluffs, and Fort Dodge.) 

Other official correspondence on file in the Interior 
Department shows that the request for the withdrawal of 
the lands was made by the delegation the same day the act 
was approved, June 2, 1864. The public lands remaining 
in the State at that time amounted to about six hundred 
thousand acres. 

It must be remembered that this period was the very 
time when Iowa soldiers were returning from the battle- 
fields of the war and seeking to invest their small earnings, 
received in return for their great sacrifices, to make homes 
for themselves and their families upon the public lands of 
the United States. They found the public lands in the 
great State of Iowa closed against them by railroad with- 
drawals that had been made without justification and 
without color of legal authority, as the Supreme Court 
afterward decided. These withdrawals continued long 
after that period; and as late as 1875 the Department, 
protecting and approving these illegal withdrawals, decreed 
the temporary restorations that had been made to have 


been unlawful, canceled entries that had been allowed 
under such temporary restorations, and, where patents had 
been issued to settlers and sent to the local land offices for 
delivery, but had not been delivered, the General Land 
Office recalled such patents and witheld them from their 
lawful owners. 

These patents had passed the legal title of the United 
States, and it was as incompetent for the General Land 
Office to interfere with them, or to recall them, or to with- 
hold them, as it would have been to have attempted to 
interfere with the private deeds and conveyances in Ohio 
or New York. This high-handed act of the Land Office 
discrediting the patents of the United States, compelled the 
holders of perfect titles from the United States to buy an 
invalid and worthless railroad claim to protect their homes. 

How many such instances there were, will probably 
never be known; how many more instances there were, in 
which valid entries which had not been patented were as 
arbitrarily and unlawfully canceled, will probably never 
be disclosed by the General Land Office; the multitude 
of other instances in which lawful entries were wickedly 
and shamefully denied, can never be known, as no records 
are kept of those who k ' die and make no sign." 

Undoubtedly, every one of the patentees or their legal 
representatives, have a clear, indisputable right to-day to 
secure the patents which had been issued, to stand upon 
that absolute title and to recover from the railroad com- 
pany and its privies whatever money they may have 
been wrongfully compelled to pa}\ 

The law gives to those whose unpatented entries were 
illegally canceled, a remedy, to still preserve their rights, 
and for recovery from the railroad companies of moneys 
wrongfully exacted; but the Secretary of the Interior and 
the Attorney General have found a way to defeat the law. 


in this and other respects, and to protect the railroad com- 
panies and their confederates in stolen property of this 
kind, as will be shown hereafter. 


The following extracts from the testimony of the Law 
Clerk of the General Land Office, indicate the unerring 
fidelity of the Land Department of the Government to the 
interests of corporations, and its habitual disregard of the 
interests of settlers and of the Government, and affords a 
clear view of corporate methods and influence in the 

"Q. How is it in regard to the ability of counsel usually 
employed by railroad companies? A. Railroad com- 
panies never make the mistake of employing lawyers of 
inferior capacity. A railroad corporation has the ablest 
attorneys in its service that the country can produce. A 
settler has no attorney, or perhaps very indifferent counsel. 
He may be some local attorney without much practice or 
experience in the questions he is called to manage. When 
the case comes before the General Land Office a corpora- 
tion is represented not only by able but by abundant 
counsel. The settler generally is wholly unable to employ 
a resident attorney, but relies on the merits of his case and 
the fidelity of the officers of the government to secure him 
his rights. 

"Q. Before what tribunal or what class of minds are 
these questions heard in the first instance? A. Before 
the clerks having that matter in charge. 

"Q. Before ordinary clerks? A. Yes, sir. 
"Q. Do these counsel have access, informally, to these 
clerks in private conversation and otherwise, and endeavor 
to press their views upon these clerks with such means as 
they see fit to exercise upon them? A. / think, it has 
usually been the fact that the views of railroad attorneys, 
and their constructions of the law, have been fully impressed 
upon the minds of clerks acting upon cases in which the cor- 
porations are interested. The regulations prohibit confer- 


ences between attorneys and clerks except upon permission. 
Such regulations have not always proved effective, although 
they are now more strictly enforced than formerly. At- 
torneys have, however, full access to chiefs of divisions. 

"Q. What is the nature of the hearings that then occur 
upon these questions before these clerks, and how are they 
conducted '. A. The attorney of the company goes in 
person to the General Land Office, examines the papers, 
and if necessary follows the ease to whoever has it in 
charge or control, and argues and insists upon the superior 
or exclusive rights of his company to the land. There are 
no formal hearings. Tloe pressure Drought upon clerks is 
thepressure of the power and influence of the great corpor- 
ations. If a case involving railroad interests adverse to a 
settler's right or to the public interests, happens to come 
to the attention of the Commissioner before final decision, 
the attorneys usually find it out and interview the Com- 
missioner on the subject. They also look very closely after 
cases that may in the same manner come before the law 
clerk for his opinion. 

Q. Are many cases terminated without reaching you at 
all? A. Until the present Commissioner came into office, 
legal questions relative to railroad grants, and to rights 
and interests arising thereunder, never came before the law 
clerk of the bureau, unless in some merely incidental and 
comparatively unimportant cases. They were acted upon 
exclusively in the railroad division. 

Q. Are the cases that go before you for adjudication 
such as are not satisfactory to the corporations interested 
in them? A. It is the other way. The cases in which the 
decisions that have been made are satisfactory to the cor- 
porations are the ones that usually come before the law 
clerk's division. 

Q. How is that? A. In reviewing the office decisions 
the cases that may be thought to have been erroneously 
decided, according to the views of the law division, are 
usually those where the decision is favorable to the cor- 
poration. It is not usual to make mistakes in favor of 

Q. It is in the revision of this class of work, and the 
detection of what seems to you to be injustice towards the 


settlers, that the questions arise? A. Yes, sir; and it is 
the same way where the interests of the United States are 


It appears from the testimony that the Land Office had 
held from 1850 down to 1878, that the right of a railroad 
company to lands within indemnity limits was the same, 
and attached at the same time as to lands within granted 
limits, and that, under this rule, all lands within indemnity 
limits were decreed to the railroads against settlers. In 
1878 a case arose in which it was to the interest of a rail- 
road company to get a different decision, and the court 
found, rightly as it happened, that the practice of the Land 
Office for thirty years had been totally wrong. The diffi- 
culty in getting the Interior Department to accept a correct 
rule, even under the authority of the Supreme Court, is 
thus recited by the witness: 

"At the October term of the Supreme Court, in 1878 
(100 U. S., 382), in the case of Michael Eyan vs. The Cen- 
tral Pacific Railroad Company, successor to the California 
& Oregon Railroad Company, the court said that the right 
to select lieu or indemnity lands was only a float and 
attached only to unappropriated and unreserved public 
land at date of withdrawal, and was legally withdrawn at 
that time. 

"Soon after this opinion was pronounced, the Secretary 
of the Interior (Schurz), in the case of Blodgett vs. The 
California & Oregon Railroad Company (6 Copp., 37), 
applied the principle of the Ryan decision to a case where 
lands within railroad indemnity limits had not been selected 
in fact, but had been withdrawn from sale or disposal for 
the future purpose of such selection. 

"In this case the Secretary held that the withdrawal had 
been authorized by statute, and that at the date of with- 
drawal the tract in controversy was public land, and there- 
fore subject to the withdrawal. There had been a prior 


settler on tbe land, who had abandoned it, and whose 
claim, the Secretary held, was not of such a character as 
to exclude the land from the withdrawal, and consequently 
a second settler who went on the land after the abandon- 
ment by the prior settler, and after a legal withdrawal had 
been made, could claim no rights by virtue of the former 

"The principle of this decision was that where lands 
were public lands at date of withdrawal, and were subject 
to withdrawal, and were legally withdrawn, a subsequent 
settler could not claim against the reservation made by such 
prior valid withdrawal. 

"The Supreme Court held that a reservation existing at 
some time previous to the attachment of the railroad right, 
but extinguished and not existing at the date of such attach- 
ment did not defeat the railroad right. The office held 
that a reservation which was in existence at the date of a 
withdrawal of lands within indemnity limits did not defeat 
the withdrawal, and accordingly rejected the claims of set- 
tlers who entered the land after the extinguishment of the 
prior reservation and before the attachment of the railroad 
right; and the decision in the Ryan case was cited as the 
authority for this ruling. 

"The Secretary held that where a prior valid settlement 
claim was" not existing at date of withdrawal, the with- 
drawal prevented the acquisition of a subsequent settler's 
right. The office cited this decision as authority for ruling 
that where there was a valid settlement right existing at 
date of withdrawal, then no subsequent settler's right could 
be acquired. 

"Finding the decisions of the office thus in apparent con- 
travention of the law as it exists in the statutes, and as 
expounded by the Supreme Court, and in contravention 
also of the cited rulings of the department, all decisions of 
this character were withheld and an explanation asked from 
the writers. 

"They stated that their decisions were in accordance with 
the practice of the office; that in their opinion such decis- 
ions were erroneous but that they were not permitted to 
express their own judgments, and that they were required 


to write their decisions in the way they had done. The 
attention of the chief of the division was then called to 
what seemed to be an obvious misapprehensioL of the Ryan 
and Blodgett decisions, as thus shown. He stated that he 
had followed the practice which he had found existing. 

" The questions involved in the withheld decisions were 
then stated to the Commissioner. He directed me to 
rewrite the cases as I thought right, and to present to him 
the original decisions, together with those prepared by 
myself, for his consideration. I did so, and the matter 
was contested before him at intervals from July until 
December. He perceived that the practice of the office 
was not supported by the authorities cited for its support, 
but he was assured that the practice was nevertheless sanc- 
tioned by other and unpublished decisions of the Secretary, 
He required the production of such unpublished decisions, 
and one alleged to be of the character named was presented 
to him. I stated to the Commissioner my opinion that this 
decision did not have the meaning claimed for it, and 
could not be held to have such meaning, except by a forced 
construction of an ambiguity, arising from an evident mis- 
apprehension by the writer of that decision, of a former 
decision made by the Commissioner. 

"It was then insisted that the matter should be referred to 
the Secretary, which was done. The Secretary declined to 
consider the subject, whereupon the Commissioner felt at 
liberty to act, and he reversed the preceding practice of 
the office and made the proper decision in this class 
of cases. But from April, 1879, to July, 1881, the incor- 
rect application of the Ryan and Blodgett decisions had 
been made in a very large number of cases, in every one 
of which some poor man's home had been sacrificed. 

"For the long term of years previous to 1879 the practice 
had been the same, under the theory, as I have stated, that 
the rights of railroad companies to land within indemnity 
limits were held to have attached at the same time as to 
lands within granted limits. 

"The effect of the misapplication of the Ryan and Blodgett 
decisions was to continue the former practice after the prin- 
ciple upon which that practice was founded had been pro- 
nounced incorrect by the Supreme Court. 


"Q. Can you give any idea of the extent of the operation 
of this thing upon the settlers? A. From April, 1879, to 
August, 1881, or a period of two years and a half, I sup- 
pose there must have been at least two or three hundred 
cases decided in that way, and, perhaps, very many hun- 
dred cases were so decided previous to the decision of the 
Supreme Court. 

k 'Q. These are cases where men who have made their 
improvements in good faith have been ousted from«their 
property by the railroad companies without compensation ? 

kk A. Yes, sir ; or by the Land Department for the benefit 
of the railroad companies. 

kk Q. Has it been the custom of the railroad company, or 
those who obtain these improved lands by virtue of this 
construction of the law making grants to them, to compen- 
sate the ousted parties for their improvements? A. I 
have never heard that railroad companies compensated set- 
tlers for their improvements on lands decided by the depart- 
ment to belong to the railroads. There have been many 
classes of cases in which the railroad companies have 
obtained land in this way. 


"In the case of Gates vs. California & Oregon Railroad 
Company it was held by the Secretary, in 1878 (5 Copp., 
150). that when a pre-emption settler was on land within 
railroad limits at the date of the attachment of the railroad 
right, and afterwards abandoned his claim or transferred 
his improvements to another, the former pre-emption claim 
did not except the land from the grant, and that a subse- 
quent settler purchasing this former settler's improvements, 
or otherwise occupying the land after the former settler 
had abandoned it, could not have his claim recognized. 

" The same rule had existed previous to the decision in the 
Gates case and prior to 1876, and had caused much com- 
plaint, as it was of wide application and affected great 
numbers of cases. 

k, In 1876, Congress attempted to correct this, and some 
other rulings of the department, by positive legislation. 
The act of April 21, of that year (19 Stat., 35), was a 


mandatory act requiring the department to recognize the 
validity of subsequent entries where land had been covered 
by former claims of the date of withdrawal of lands for 
railroad grants. This act did not have the effect which 
was shown by the Senate debates to have been expected 
by the legislative mind. The Gates decision was rendered 
without reference to the act of 1876, and was afterwards 
modified upon such fact being shown. But the unmodified 
decision appears to have been the rule usually followed in 
the Land Office down to a recent date. The regulations 
adopted by departmental concurrence or instructions, and 
the rulings made under the act of 1876, had the effect in 
all cases to make the relief contemplated by that act diffi- 
cult of availability, and in most cases to render the act 
inoperative. It was held, for example, that the act could 
have no prospective effect because its language implied a 
past tense. Then it was held that it could have no retro- 
active effect because that would be unconstitutional. 
Again, if a case arose, that in the view of the office could 
be recognized as coming within the provisions of the act, the 
claim was rejected, unless the party was careful to state 
that he claimed the benefit of the act. He was not allowed 
to have the benefit of the act unless he expressly claimed 
it. A great many cases have been adjudicated in this way, 
and the parties who had an absolute legal right to their 
land under the indemnity provisions of the act granting 
lands for railroad purposes, and had such right irrespective 
of the act of 1876, were defeated in their claims under the 
construction given to an act designed for their protection. 
"A case was adjudicated under this act to which the act 
had no application, and this case was then brought before 
the State court of Kansas, as a test case, to determine the 
validity of the act. In this case, according to the findings 
of the Court, the original settler was proven to have volun- 
tarily abandoned his claim in 1868. In 1869 the railroad 
right attached. In 1871 a second settler made an entry of 
the land. This entry was canceled, and in 1875 the land 
was patented to the railroad company. In 1878 the second 
settler's entry was reinstated by the Secretary of the Inte- 
rior, under the act of 1876, and patent was issued to the 
settler. Then the case was brought before the Court. The 


Court found that the first settler's claim was invalid, and 
accordingly held that the second settler had no rights 
against the railroad grant, which had become effective after 
the abandonment of the first settler's claim. The Oourt 
thought that under the circumstances recited, the reinstate- 
ment of the second settler's entry was a mistake in law, 
and observed that as the railroad company's title had vested 
in this particular tract in 1869, this vested title could not be 
disturbed by a subsequent act of Congress. 

" The act of 1876 provided that where valid homestead or 
pre-emption claims existed at date of withdrawal of lands 
under railroad grants, and these claims were afterwards 
abandoned, the claims of subsequent settlers on such lands 
should be confirmed. In the case before the Court the 
prior settlement claim was found to be invalid. In sus- 
taining the title of the railroad company in this case the 
Court neither expressed nor implied an opinion that the act 
of 1876 would not be operative in a case coming within the 
provisions of that act, but only that the act was not opera- 
tive in a case not coming within its provisions. Yet, upon 
the rendition of the judgment of the court in that case, as 
thus made up and stated, all cases depending in the Land 
Office to which the act of 1876 did apply, were suspended 
at departmental instance, and none have since been acted 

"Q. What other instance of hardship to settlers do you 
recall? A. Referring to the general principle that home- 
stead entries segregate the land so that it cannot be taken 
by any other form of disposal, I may mention a decision 
by the Secretary in 1879, known as the Kniskern case (6 
Copp., 50), which is one of the classes of cases in which 
the principle stated is not applied in contests between set- 
tlers and railroad grants. In this case a soldier's home- 
stead entry had been made on a tract of land in Minne- 
sota, under the act of 1864 (R. S., Sec. 2291), which per- 
mitted soldiers in actual service to make their affidavits of 
intention to claim the land before a commanding officer. 
Thousands of soldiers availed themselves of this privilege, 
hoping, perhaps, to return from the field and have a farm 
to go to, or in any event to provide a home for family or 
parents. They did not always return. Their families 


could not always move out on the wild land. So that in 
most instances the required residence and improvement 
was wanting, and the entries were canceled in due course 
of time. While existing on the records, however, such 
entries operated to reserve the land under the general rules 
of law applicable to all homestead entries. The public 
knew no difference between these soldiers' homestead 
entries and homestead entries of any other class. Neither 
did the department until 1ST9. Then it was held, in the 
Kniskern decision, that the soldier's entry in that particular 
case was prima facie invalid in its inception, and therefore, 
that it did not operate to except the land from a railroad 
grant. All the lands that had been covered by these 
entries had been re-entered by other persons after the 
homestead entry had been canceled. The soldier's entr} 7- 
was a homestead claim, and homestead claims, as well as 
rights, were excepted from the grants. For fifteen years 
settlers had been educated by practice and precedent to 
believe that second entries made after the cancellation of 
the first would be respected. They knew that neither 
themselves nor others could legally go on the land until 
the former entry had been adjudged invalid. They did 
not know that railroad companies had rights that citizens 
did not possess. Secretary Chandler had ruled in a printed 
decision in this class of cases that they had not. But the 
settlers were undeceived by the decision in the Kniskern 
case; and those to whom that decision applies lose their 
improved farms, which go to the railroad." 

Continuing his exposure of illegal methods and practices 
the law clerk says: 

"The award of land to railroad companies when no claim 
has been made by the companies, is an incident to the 
exceptional practice of the office in favor of railroads that 
does not exist in respect to any other class of grants. In 
the case of school-land grants, for example, the office acts 
upon the facts of record and the law applicable thereto in 
adjudicating settlement claims on the school sections, noti- 
fying the State of its decisions, when the State may appeal 
if it so desires. A contest between the State and settler is 
never assumed, but must be instituted in fact if the State 


desires to contest. But in the case of railroad grants settle- 
ment claims are treated as contests. The settler is required 
to especially notify the railroad company of his applica- 
tion to enter or to make proof. Notice by publication, 
which in all other cases of settlement proof is notice to 
the world, is not sufficient notice to a railroad. If the com- 
pany does not appear, or does not, in fact, desire a contest, 
it makes no difference. It is regarded as a contest in any 
event, and the strict rules governing contests is applied to 
the settler, who I have reason to believe, in very many 
cases, even where the settlement claim would appear to be 
irrefutable, is driven by practices of the office, and the terms 
and requirements of official letters, as well as by delays 
and appeals, into compounding with the railroad by pur- 
chasing from the company the land to which he has an 
apparent right under the law." 

The thousands and tens of thousands of settlers who 
have been forced by the action and want of action of the 
Land Office to buy their lands of the railroad companies 
when they had good right to enter them under the public 
land laws, will be able to appreciate the full force of the 
above testimony. 

The law clerk further says: 

"The grant for the St. Paul & Pacific extension lines in 
Minnesota, after its renewal by Congress, was transferred 
by the State to certain companies, except so far as the 
lands embraced in the grant were not occupied by actual 
settlers on March 1, 1877. The right to lands so occupied 
was not transferred by the State to the companies, but was 
expressly withheld, and the Governor was authorized by 
act of the Legislature to release all such lands to the United 
State? in favor of the settlers. The releases were duly exe- 
cuted by the Governor, but are not accepted by the depart- 
ment, unless the lands are also relinquished by the railroad 
companies, who have nothing to relinquish. The State 
officers have repeatedly complained of the action of the 
department in this respect. One case has been brought to 
my notice where, even after both the State and the railroad 



company had relinquished in favor of the settler, the Land 
Office, by the decision as prepared for the Commissioner'* 
signature, refused to allow the settlement claim, and ques- 
tioned the power of the State to withhold from a railroad 
company any lands granted to the State by Congress, and 
made subject to the disposal of the State Legislature, 
although the Supreme Court of the United States had 
expressed different views." 


It appears from the public reports of the General Land 
Office (see annual report, 1879, pp. 83, 84,) that from the 
commencement of the railroad land grant system down to 
1879 it was the practice of that office to patent to railroad 
companies all the public lands within railroad limits, with- 
out regard to excepting clauses of the granting acts. It 
would seem to the unprejudiced observer that the following 
clause, which appears in substantially the same words in all 
grants, was sufficiently plain to be read understandingly 
by anyone: 

" Provided, further, That any and all lands heretofore 
reserved to the United States by any act of Congress, or 
in any other manner, by competent authority, for the pur- 
pose of aiding in any object of internal improvement or 
other purpose whatever, be, and the same are hereby 
reserved and excepted from the operation of this act, 
except so far as it may be found necessary to locate the 
route of such roads through such reserved lands, in which 
case the right of way shall be granted, subject to the 
approval of the President of the United States." 

But the Interior Department obligingly conferred upon 
the corporations these reserved and excepted lands, not 
only without pretext or shadow of law, but in contemptu- 
ous disregard of the plain, precise, and absolute terms of 
the law, and in cruel and flagrant violation of the rights of 
settlers, and with utter indifference to public rights. 


The Supreme Court could not sustain this direct violation 
of the statute, and in 1875 it declared the law violated and 
set aside a large number of patents that had been issued to 
a railroad company for lands embraced in an Indian reser- 
vation in Kansas (Osage ceded lands), when the grant was 

But the Land Office refused to apply the principles 
announced by the Court to any other kind of reservations 
than Indian reservations. They seemed to be doggedly 
determined to adhere to their illegal practice. Then, in 
1879, the court again announced the same principle, in 
regard to private land claim reservations, and the principle 
was haltingly and partially adopted by the Land Office 
even then. 

In the Commissioners' report for 1878 (page 83) it. is 

"The Supreme Court decision in the case of Newhall vs. 
Sanger, following the Osage ceded lands decision, had par- 
ticular reference to the attachment of railroad rights upon 
lands covered at the time of the railroad grant by a foreign 
grant claim, and settled the question adversely to the rail- 
road company, holding that the lands reserved for the 
adjustment of the foreign grant claim at the time of making 
the railroad grant did not pass under the latter, and became 
a part of the public domain." 

The decision of the Court, both in the Osage ceded lands 
case (Leavenworth, Lawrence & Galveston R. It. Co. vs. 
The United States) and in the private land claim case 
(Newhall vs. Sanger) laid down the broad principle of the 
law applying to all reservations. The Land Office 
restricted its obedience to the precise cases upon which 
suit was brought. 

But the Commissioner admits the fact and extent of the 
previous illegal practice: 


"Prior to the rendition of this decision the department 
had held that the railroad grant attached to such lands on 
their release from reservation, and under such construction, 
thousands of acres were patented to the companies, to 
which, under the before-mentioned decision, they were not 
entitled" (Land Office report, 1879, p. 84). 

The law clerk, in his testimony, refers to the wholly 
illegal practice of the Land Office in patenting reserved 
lands to railroad companies, to the sullen and incomplete 
recognition by the department of the correct principles of 
law upheld by the Court, and to the practical defeat, by 
departmental law juggling, of the decision of the Court in 
the Moquelemas case. He says: 

Among the exceptions to railroad grants are lands in a 
state of reservation for any purpose at date of grant or 
attachment of railroad right. But it was the practice of 
the Land Department for a period of twent\'-five years to 
award to the railroads the lands thus excepted from their 
grants whenever the reservation ceased. In all these cases 
settlers in great numbers had gone on the lands after their 
restoration to the public domain, but the lands, together 
with the settlers' improvements, were by departmental 
decisions, turned over to the railroads. 

In 1875, the Supreme Court set aside patents that had 
been issued to the Leavenworth, Lawrence and Galveston 
Railroad Company for several hundred thousand acres of 
land in Kansas, which had been embraced in an Indian 
reservation at the date of the railroad grant . At the same 
time the Court decreed null and void the title that had been 
given to the Western Pacific Railroad Company for lands 
which at date of grant were embraced within the limits of a 
Mexican claim that was afterwards adjudged invalid. The 
Court said in these cases that the reservation was an abso- 
lute exclusion of the land from the railroad grants, and that 
it made no difference what afterwards became of it. When 
the reservation ceased the land reverted to the public 
domain, and did not go to the grant. 


"The legal principles stated by the Court have met with 
a limited concurrence in the practice of the Land Depart- 

"They have not generally been applied to other classes of 
reservations than the particular classes involved in the 
cases before the Court. For example, mineral reservations 
have not been brought under the rule of the Court, but 
lands reserved as mineral have, upon the extinguishment 
of the reservation, been uniformly awarded to the railroads. 

"The case in Newhall vs. Sanger (92 TJ. S., 761) was 
that of the claimed Moquelemas grant, a Mexican private 
land claim, which was sub judice at date of railroad grant. 
All that portion of the land within the claimed limits of 
the Mexican grant which fell within railroad sections had 
been patented to the railroad company upon the final 
adjudication that the Mexican claim was invalid. The case 
before the Court was a test case, and the decision of the 
court holding the railroad title null and void was a judicial 
determination of the legal status of all the land involved 
in this controversy. But the department refuses to accept 
the judgment of the Court as conclusive except as to the 
the single tract that was actually in the particular case 
before the Court, and holds that each individual settler on 
the same land must obtain a separate decree in his own 
case before a patent can be issued to him for the land to 
which he is entitled by law as settled by the Court. 

"Q. Have the laws generally been literally construed in 
favor of the railroad? A. Yes, sir. The principle of law 
applicable to public grants — that they ought to be con- 
strued strictly against the grantees — has not been observed, 
although the exceptions to the grant are very strictly ruled 

"Q. That is to say, that the grants have been construed 
very liberally to the grantee and against the settler? A. 
Yes, sir. It is a common rule of construction that if there 
are words in a granting act which of themselves import a 
present grant, then the grant is in prcesenti, although the 
general words of present grant may be restrained by par- 
ticular words in subsequent parts of the same act. Among 
the important decisions which would appear to have fol- 
lowed this rule are the decisions of the Secretarv in the 



case of the Northern Pacific Railroad grant (Commission- 
er's annual report, 1879, p. 109), and in the case of the 
Atlantic & Pacific Railroad grant, accepting the opinion of 
the Attorney-General of October 26, 1880 (7 Copp., 166). 
The authorities relied upon in these and similar decisions 
and opinions are the authorities in cases where no condi- 
tion except the designation of the granted land was neces- 
sary to vest the estate in the grantee, as in the case of 
Greene's Heirs, 2 Wheaton, 196, and Schulenberg vs. Har- 
riman, 21 Wall., 44. In the cases to which these authori- 
ties were applied there were several conditions precedent 
to be performed before the estate could vest, among which 
was the construction of the road." 

The following table will aid the reader to form some con- 
ception of the frightful magnitude of the territorial conquest 
achieved by the corporations during the latter half of the 
present century: 

Land grants made by Congress to States and corporations for rail- 
roads, canals and wagon-road purposes prior and subsequent to 
March 4, 1861. 

( Compiled from the official records of the General Land Office.) 



Prior to March 4, 1861. 


Grants for railroad purposes 

Grants for wagon purposes 

Grants for canal purposes 

Grants for river-improvement purposes 


(No grants to corporations were made by Congress prior to 

Subsequent to March 4, 1861. 


Grants for railroad purposes 

Grants for wagon-road purposes 

Grants for canal purposes. 

Grants for river-improvements 



Grants for railroad purposes 

Total of all grants made subsequent to March 4, 1861. . . 
Grand total for the purposes named 














About 2,500,000 acres of this were granted to aid in the 
construction of canals prior to 1850. All the rest fron 
1850 to 1ST1 inclusive. 

The State of Illinois contains 36,000,000 acres, Iowa 
35,000,000, Minnesota 53,000,000, Missouri 44,000,000, 
Kansas 52,000,000; and yet the above table discloses the 
startling fact that an empire — the inheritance and hope of 
our children — greater in area than the four States named, 
has been ruthlessly and wickedly wrenched from the people 
and bestowed upon the corporate barons of the period. 
The consequences of this stupendous crime will be felt to 
the end of time, and no man will ever live upon the earth 
who will be able to trace its malignant ramifications. 

With the terrible facts related in this chapter fresh in his 
memory, we request the reader to go back and re-read the 
quotation at the head of this narrative taken from the Free 
Soil Platform of 1852. He will then be prepared to under- 
stand to some extent the terrible crime which has been 
committed against the people in connection with our pub- 
lic domain. 



No occurrence in the history of our race so vividly exhib- 
its the importance of money in human affairs as a condi- 
tion of war. Thoughtful minds understand, of course, the 
continuous though unobtrusive demand which is constantly 
made by every rational adult person, for money in order to 
supply his daily wants. But it is only when great aggre. 
gations of individuals are hurried together, in the form of 
an army, and carried away from their accustomed chan- 
nels of trade, that the whole population, including officials 
and law makers, awake to the pressing necessity for an 
ample supply of money. Of course the demand for food, 
raiment, shelter, and compensation for services are ever 
present with us; but in a state of peace each individual 
bears his own burdens and conceals as best he can his anxi- 
eties and the wants which he is unable to satisfy. But 
when armies are assembled and navies are to be equipped, 
human wants are thrown into the foreground and society 
utters one universal cry for money — money to sustain the 
honor, money to save the life of the nation — and extraor- 
dinary efforts are then always made to satisfy the demand. 

It is clear, however, upon a moment's reflection, that the 
demand for money among those who constitute the army 
was greater before the war occurred than afterwards. 
"Wages are higher in peace, and the style of living, quality 
of food and cloth'ng, more expensive in peace than in 
war. If, therefore, the money in circulation in time of 


peace is sufficient to meet the wants of trade, it is clear 
that it would be ample, if applied, to meet the wants of 
the same number of persons in war, when the wages and 
cost of living are diminished. The fact that so many men 
have ceased to be producers can make no difference in the 
existing volume of money. In fact, diminished production 
curtails the demand for money. 

Labor can create wealth but it cannot create money. It 
requires a statute to speak money into existence. It is the 
creature of law, not the product of nature. It can neither 
be made by the march of battalions nor by plowing in the 
field, but it can be made to change hands by both. 

The beneficial effects of the bountiful issue of money in 
times of p ablic peril, verify in the strongest possible man- 
aer the necessity for an adequate circulating medium at all 
times; and they bring out in strong light the duty of a great 
and powerful Government to furnish its citizens with a con- 
stant non-fluctuating money supply. 

The history of modern nations is trumpet-tongued with 
warnings against all attempts to return to ante-bellum fiscal 
methods and financial policies after the perils of war have 


It is our purpose in this chapter to introduce for the 
consideration of the reader the most important events, in 
war and peace, connected with the financial history of 
Great Britain and the United States, the two leading 
nations of modern times. 

It is said that at the dawn of creation the morning 
stars sang together. So now the ages utter their authori- 
tative speech. The voice of a departing Century is per- 
suasive, eloquent and full of majesty. There is no parlance 
with which it can be comoared. It is the solemn allocution 


of three generations of human beings enunciated in artic- 
ulo mortis and compressed into a single narrative. And 
we submit that the financial experiments of the two most 
enlightened nations of Christendom, filling to the brim, as 
they jointly do, the full measure of the Nineteenth Centuiy, 
are clearly entitled to the candid consideration of mankind. 
The instruction which such enlightened and protracted ex- 
perience imparts cannot be disregarded nor cast aside with 
impunity . 


The internal and external condition of Great Britain 
during the years 1793-6 — the initial epoch in the protracted 
struggle for the overthrow of Napoleon — forms one of the 
most instructive chapters in modern history. It exhibits in 
bold and instructive contrast the helplessness of a Govern- 
ment enfeebled and stupefied by the consciousness of an 
empty treasury, as compared with the vigorous self reliance 
of a powerful Nation strengthened by ample means with 
which to defend itself at home and abroad. 

We trust we may be pardoned for digressing far enough 
at this point to call the attention of the reader to the 
remarkable similarity between the life of a nation and the 
life of a single individual, in this regard. It is said, and truth- 
fully as we believe, that in the life of the average citizen 
we have in miniature the life of a whole Nation. Nations 
are made up of individuals and hence they must have 
the same wants, ambitions, vicissitudes and history. The 
individual cramped and discouraged by poverty represents 
the Nation paralvzed by a collapsed treasury. The former 
drops to the bottom of the social structure where he will 
speedily be made to feel the weight of everything above 
him; the latter is at the mercy of its more powerful neigh- 
bors and is liable to lose its place on the map of the world. 


During the period above named England had met with 
unbroken disaster. She had secured but one victory at 
sea — that of Howe. She was forced ignominiously from 
Flanders, Holland and the north of Germany. Napoleon 
had gained his victory at Toulon where the British fleet 
had been forced to surrender the city and retire before the 
guns of the rising 3 r oung Corsican. Every nation, except 
Austria and Russia, had broken off its alliance with 
England, and hostility was manifested everywhere to her 
arms. To add to her distress a severe commercial panic — 
a frightful financial rigor of prolonged duration, which had 
finally to be relieved by a Government loan to business 
classes, seized upon the channels of trade and finally term- 
inated in a run upon the bank. This was followed by 
widespread mutiny in the fleet. Driven by disaster to the 
very brink of ruin, the Government was forced at length to 
suspend cash payments. The result of this stroke of finan- 
cial policy which included the resort to an exclusive paper 
currency in the spring of 1797, was almost miraculous, 
Upon this point we introduce the testimony of an enlight- 
ened English historian, Sir Archibald Alison, author of 
" The History of Europe during the French Revolution.'' 
We quote from a book written by him and published in 
Edinburgh and London in 1845, entitled "England in 
1815 and 1845, or a Sufficient and a Contracted Currency:" 

from 1797 to 1815. 

" The next eighteen years of the war, from 1797 to 1815, 
were, as all the world knows, the most glorious, and taken 
as a whole, the most prosperous which Great Britain had 
ever known. Ushered in by a combination of circum- 
stances the most calamitous, both with reference to external 
security and internal industry, it terminated in a blaze of 
glory and a flood of prosperity which have never, since the 
beginning of the world, descended upon any nation. Hardly 


had the run upon the bank shaken to its center the whole 
fabric of our commercial industr}^ and the mutinies at the 
Nore, Plymouth and off Cadiz paralyzed the arm of our 
naval defenders, when the victories of St. Vincent and 
Cainperdown again restored to us the dominion of the seas; 
and ere long the thunderbolts of the Nile and Trafalgar 
prostrated the naval strength of the enemy, and the vic- 
tories of "Wellington first arrested, and at length broke his 
military power. Prosperity, universal and unheard of, per- 
vaded every department ef the empire. Our colonial pos- 
sessions encircled the earth — the whole West Indian islands 
had fallen into our hands; an empire of sixty millions of 
men in flindostan acknowledged our rule; Java was added 
to our eastern possessions; and the flag of France had dis- 
appeared from every station beyond the sea. Agriculture, 
commerce and manufacture at home had increased in an 
unparalleled ratio; the landed proprietors were in affluence; 
wealth to an unheard-of extent had been created among the 
farmers; the soil, daily increasing in fertility and breadth 
of cultivated land, had become almost adequate to the 
maintenance of the rapidly increasing population; our 
exports, imports, and tonnage had more than doubled since 
the war began. And though distress, especially during 
1810 and 1811, had at times been severely experienced 
among the manufacturing operatives, yet, on the whole, 
and in average years, their condition was one of extraordi- 
narv prosperity. The revenue raised by taxation within 
the year had risen from 21,000,000? in 1796, to 72,000,000? 
in 1815; the total expenditure from taxes and loans had 
reached in 1811 and 1815, the enormous amount of 117,- 
000,000? each year. 

" In the years 1813 and 1814, being the twentieth and 
twenty-first of the war, Great Britain had above a million 
of men in arms in Europe and Asia, and remitted 11,000,- 
000? yearly in subsidies to continental powers. Yet was 
this prodigious and unheard of expenditure so far from 
exhausting either the capital or resources of the country, 
that the loan in 1814 was obtained at a lower rate than that 
paid at the commencement of the war; although the annual 
loan at its close was above 35,000,000?, and the popula- 
tion of the empire at that period was only eighteen millions, 


just two-thirds of what it was found to be by the census of 


But England had resolved to resume specie payments at 
whatever costs and made preparations to that end. She 
demonetized silver in 1816, declared that it should only be 
a legal tender for forty shillings (about $10.00), stopped its 
coinage at the mints and passed an act to resume in the 
year 1819. To accomplish this it was provided that the 
circulating paper currency should be funded into various 
kinds of public securities. We will let the historian before 
mentioned testify as to the direful effects of this step upon 
the fortunes of the people. Mr. Alison says: 

"Since the } T ear 1819 the empire has exhibited the most 
extraordinary spectacle that the world has perhaps ever 
witnessed; and it is to it that we earnestly request the atten- 
tion of our readers, because then began the series of causes 
and effects in which we have ever since been, and still are 
involved. Considered in one point of view there never was 
a nation which, in an equal space of time had made so 
extraordinary a progress. Its population had advanced 
from 20,600,000 in 1819, to 28,000,000 in 1844; its imports 
had increased from 30,000,000/. in the former period, to 
70,000,000/. in the latter; its exports had advanced during 
the same period from 44.000,000/. to ISO. 000, 000/.; its 
shipping from 2,350.000 tons to 3,900,000. There never, 
perhaps, was such a growth in these great limbs of indus- 
try in so short a period in any other state. Xor had agri- 
culture been behind other staple branches of national 
industry. Its produce had kept pace with the increase 
unparalleled in an old state, in the population, as well as 
the still more rapid multiplication of cattle and horses for 
the purpose of use and luxury; and amidst this extraordi- 
nary growth of consumption the still more extraordinary 
fact was exhibited of the average importation of grain 
steadily declining from the commencement of the century, 
till at length, anterior to the six bad seasons in succession, 


which commenced in 1836, it had sunk to 40,000 quarters 
on an average of five preceding years, being scarce an 
hundred and twentieth part of the annual consumption 
of men and animals, which exceeds 60,000,000 quar- 
ters. And what is most extraordinary of all, the returns of 
the income tax, when laid on, even in the year 1842, a 
period of severe and unprecedented commercial depression, 
proved the existence in Great Britain alone, of 200,000,000^. 
of annual income of persons enjoying above 1501. each; of 
which immense sum about 150,000,000^. was from the fruits 
of realised capital, either in land or some other durable 
investment. It is probable that such an accumulation of 
wealth never existed before in any single state, not even in 
Rome at the period of its highest splendor. 

"Considered in another view, there never was a period in 
which a greater amount of financial embarrassment has 
been experienced by the government, or more widespread 
and acute suffering endured by the people. So far has the 
exchequer been from sharing in the flood of wealth which 
has thus been so profusely poured into the empire, that it 
has, with the exception of two or three years of extraordi- 
nary and perilous prosperity, been during the whole of this 
period, in a state of difficulty." This steadily increased till 
it at last brought the nation to such a pass that it was extri- 
cated from absolute insolvency only by the re-imposition, 
during European peace, of the war income tax. Not only 
was the provident and far seeing system of Mr. Pitt for the 
redemption of the debt practically abandoned during the 
necessities of this calamitous period, but the national 
account turned the other way, and the annual deficiency 
gradual^ increased till it had reached the enormous amount 
of 4,000, 0001. annually, and added, in six years of peace, 
no less than 11,000,000^. to the amount of the national 
debt. The nation, during the late years of the war, pros- 
pered and experienced general well being under an annual 
taxation of 72,000,000/., drawn from eighteen million of 
souls; in the latter years of the peace it has, with the 
utmost difficulty, drawn 50,000,000Z from a population of 
twenty-seven millions. Wages in the former period were 
high, employment abundant, the working classes prosper- 
ous, with an export of British and colonial produce of from 


45,000,000/ to 50,000,000/, annually; in the latter, wages 
were in many trades low, employment difficult, suffering 
general, with an annual exportation to the amount ol 
120,000,000/ to 130,000,000/. 

"But extraordinary and apparently inexplicable as these 
facts are, they are yet exceeded in marvel by the details of 
our social and economical state during this period of unpar- 
alleled increase in our material resources. It may safely 
be affirmed that the anxiety and distress which were felt 
during that brilliant period of national growth has never 
been surpassed, at least in a state possessing the external 
mark of prosperity. It is well known to what straits the 
bank of England has been reduced on two different occa- 
sions in that period. In December, 1825, it was, as all the 
world knows, in very great difficulties. We were, as Mr. 
Huskisson said, 'within twenty- four hours of barter.' In 
November, 1839, the stock of specie was reduced 2,800,000/, 
and the bank was under the necessity of negotiating 
10,000,000/ sterling from the Bank of France. * * * 

"The distress among the mercantile classes for years 
after the dreadful crisis of December, 1825 — of the agricul- 
tural interests during the low prices from 1832 to 1835, and 
of the whole commercial community from 1837 to 1842 was 
extreme. Wages sank, during these disastrous periods in 
the manufacturing districts, so low that they barely sufficed 
with the great bulk of workers, especially females, for the 
support of existence. Serious insurrections broke out in 
1820 and 1842, both in England and Scotland, ostensibly 
for political purposes, but mainly occasioned by the general 
distress among manufacturing operatives, as was decisively 
proved by their entire extinction when labor again received 
a remunerating return. 

" Farming capital in the agricultural districts was during 
their distress, everywhere grievously abridged — in many 
places totally annihilated. Ireland during the whole period 
has been in a state of smothered insurrection; and for the 
last four 3"ears has convulsed the country by the fierce 
demand for the repeal of the union, which was only pre- 
vented from breaking out into open rebellion by the con- 
tinued presence in that island of 30,000 armed men 
between the forces and armed police. The manufacturing 


districts of Scotland were involved, during the same period 
in such distress, that in 1837 the mortality in Glasgow 
was 1 in 32; in 1842, 1 in 30; and in the latter year 32,000 
persons took typhus fever in that city, and the deaths were 
upward of ten thousand out of a population not exceeding 
at that period 280,000 souls. 

"The late poor law commission has accumulated evi- 
dence proving to demonstration the existence of severe 
and unheard of distress among the poor of all parts of 
Scotland, generally esteemed, and in some respects with 
reason, the best conditioned part of the empire. The poor 
law commission for Ireland has shown that there are in 
that fertile land no less than 2,300,000 persons in a state of 
almost permanent destitution. The heart sickens at the 
proof, numerous and incontrovertible, which the parlia- 
mentary reports for the last ten years have accumulated, of 
wide-spread and often long-enduring suffering among 
laboring poor in England. * * * * 

" While wealth was increasing to an unparalleled extent 
among the commercial classes, suffering and distress as 
generally ensued among the rural inhabitants; and the mul- 
titude of ruined fortunes among them rendered it certain 
that at no distant period the old race of lauded proprietors 
wosld, with the exception of a few magnates, be rooted out, 
and their place supplied by a new set of purchasers from 
the commercial towns. 

"While population was advancing with unparalleled 
strides in the manufacturing districts, pauperism even 
more than kept pace with it all; and the extraordinary fact 
has now been revealed by statistical researches that, in an 
age of unbounded wealth, and general and long continued 
peace, a seventh part of the whole inhabitants of the Brit- 
tish Islands are in a state of destitution, or painfully sup- 
ported by legal relief. * * 

" While the returns of the income-tax have demonstrated 
that seventy thousand persons in Great Britain possess 
among them an annual revenue of 200,000,000^. a year, or 
about 2,800^. each on an average, the melancholy fact has 
been revealed by the result of the attempts to increase the 
national revenue by means of indirect taxation (tariff), that 
that source of income can no longer be relied on; and in a 


time of profound, and at the close of a period of long con- 
tinued peace, it has become indispensable to recur to an 
assessment on property and direct taxation, as it was in 
Rome in the decaying periods of the empire. 

"The blue folios of the Houses of Parliament teem with 
authentic and decisive evidence of the vast increase during 
the last thirty years of crime and frequent destitution 
among the working classes in all parts of the empire. 
Every four or five years a brief, feverish period of gam- 
bling, extravagance and commercial prosperity is suc- 
ceeded by a long and dreary season of anxiety, distress, 
and depression. Frightful strikes among the workmen, 
attended with boundless distress among and hideous demo- 
cratic tyranny over them invariably succeeded in the close 
of those periods of suffering, as pestilence stalks in the 
rear of famine; and popular insurrection has become so 
common, that it is a rare thing to see two years pass over 
without martial law being of necessity practically enforced 
in some part of the empire. And, as if to bring this chaos 
of contradictions to a perfect climax, at the very time 
when unheard of exertions have been made for the educa- 
tion of the people in every part of the empire, and the 
newly aroused fervor of religion in all denominations of 
christians has drawn forth unparalleled efforts for the dif- 
fusion of the gospel among the working classes, crime has 
made unexampled progress in every part of the empire; 
and the scandal has been exhibited of serious and detected 
offences having multiplied sevenfold in a realm which, in 
the same period, has not added more than seventy per cent 
to the amount of the population; in other words, during 
a period of unparalleled growth of wealth, and effort at 
instruction, crime has augmented ten times as fast as the 
the numbers of the people. 

"We repeat it — this state of things is unparalleled in any 
other age of the world or quarter of the globe. We say 
this after due consideration, and a full appreciation of the 
unutterable and now forgotten miseries in which the world 
in general, and ourselves among the rest, have been 
involved in former ages, from the ravages of foreign war, 
or the grinding of domestic oppression. * * 

What we do say is unparalleled in the history of the world, 



is the co-existence of so much suffering in one portion of the 
people, with so much prosperity in another; of unbounded 
private wealth, with unceasing public penury; of constant 
increase in the National resources, with constant diminu- 
tion in the comforts of a considerable portion of the com- 
munity; of the utmost freedom consistent with order, ever 
yet existing upon earth, with a degree of discontent which 
keeps the Nation constantly on the verge of insurrection; 
of the most strenuous efforts for the moral and religious 
improvement of the poor, with an increase of crime unpar- 
alleled at the same or, perhaps, any other period in any 
civilized state. * * * 

"Let us not deceive ourselves, therefore, nor ascribe to 
the laws of nature the miser}' arising from the erroneous 
tendency of human institutions. There is food enough in 
the land, and to spare; the surplus of it produced by the 
cultivators is daily and rapidly on the increase. The agri- 
culture of Great Britain has stood a strain and kept pace 
with an increase in the demand for its produce during the 
last fifty years to which few parallels are to be found in the 
history of mankind. Nor are our resources by any means 
approaching their natural limits. On the contrary, they 
are as yet only in their infancy; and by a vigorous appli- 
cation of science and industry the land could with ease be 
made to maintain three times its present number of inhabi- 
tants. Capital exists, and to profusion, amply sufficient to 
give full and profitable employment to the whole commu- 
nity. Labor adequate to any possible expansion of indus- 
try is at hand. Above two millions of destitute persons 
are pining for employment in Ireland alone. Our colonies 
are increasing with unheard of rapidity. Nearly two mil- 
lions of souls now exist in British North America; and the 
hundred and forty thousand in Australia alone consumed 
in 1843 no less than 1, 211, 815Z worth of British produce, or 
nearly ten pounds worth a head. Yet with all this great 
and wide spread distress, generally exists among the work- 
ing poor, and whole classes of societ} r in the more affluent 
ranks are gradually slipping down to a state of insolvency. 
That is the prodigy of our times; that it is of which it most 
behooves us to discover the cause; that it is of which the 
cause is to a large portion of the community unknown. 


"In investigating the cause of this extraordinary state 
of things, one fact of leading importance must, at the very 
first glance, strike every observer. It is, that the opulence 
which has flown into the Nation has been very far, indeed, 
from being equally distributed; and that, generally speak- 
ing, the landed interests have been as much impoverished 
during that time as the commercial has been enriched. 
There are, it is true, colossal fortunes vested in land, chiefly 
in the hands of the aristocracy, which nothing can shake, 
and which have only become the greater iD relation to the 
expense of living, from the limitation of the currency, 
which has proved fatal to so many estates of inferior mag- 
nitude, both in land and manufactures, around them. From 
the general tendency of realized commercial wealth also to 
investment in its purchase, the income of the land holders, 
taken as a whole, has rather increased than diminished dur- 
ing this period, from, the great number of estates which have 
passed out of the hands of laboring or insolvent old families 
into those of new and opulent commercial purchasers. But, 
notwithstanding this, nothing is more certain than that the 
landed interests, on the whole, have been in great distress 
during the last five-and-twenty years; and that for a con- 
siderable part of that time their embarrassments were 
absolutely overwhelming. 


"From 1826 to 1835 the table of the House of Commons 
literally groaned under the loads of petitions praying for 
relief to agricultural distress, which the low price of every 
species of rural produce in the four last of these years too 
plainly proved were well founded. No person practically 
acquainted with the condition of the middle or lesser landed 
proprietors in any part of the empire, during that time, can 
have a doubt on that point. Let any man of middle years 
examine the condition of the landholders, having from 
500Z. to 2000Z. per year, with whom he began life thirty 
years ago, and he will find that two-thirds of them are 
practically insolvent; that nearly all are deeply in debt; and 
that probably a half have sold their estates and are now 
dragging out the last year of a useless life and wasted 


fortunes in what Dionysius, of Syracuse, called the most 
unhappy of all states — an indigent old age. The embar- 
rassments of the landed proprietors are, with the excep- 
tion of a few magnates, notorious and universal. This is 
decidedly proved by the prodigious extent to which com- 
mercial wealth is everywhere bu} T ing up the estates of the 
old gentry and rooting them and their families out of the 
land. And, what is very remarkable, this state of things is 
just the reverse of what it was during the war. Agricultural 
industry was then not only amply, but splendidly remuner- 
ated; rents were constantly rising; the farmer, rapidly 
made fortunes, and laid the foundation of the whole sub- 
sequent agricultural progress of Great Britain; and the 
purchase of land with borrowed money was nearly as cer- 
tain a mode of making a fortune as it has since become a 
losing one. 

"The next remarkable feature in the social state of Great 
Britain for the last quarter of a century has been, that cap- 
ital has daily acquired a greater advantage over industiy, 
or rather large capital over small. This may be regarded 
as a grand characteristic of the period, and which in its 
ultimate effects through society, has produced more wide- 
spread and durable results than any other. Proofs of this 
occur on every side; they lie as it were, on the surface of 
things. The common complaint, that there is no getting 
on now without capital, and that mere industn r and good 
conduct are very far indeed from being a passport to suc- 
cess, if unaccompanied with this advantage, is a proof how 
strongly it is felt in all classes of the community. The 
colossal fortunes made by manufacturers and great capital- 
ists, contrasted with the innumerable bankruptcies of lesser 
adventurers in the same perilous path, is another proof of 
the same fact. Every person's experience, especially in 
the manufacturing districts and commercial towns, must 
have convinced him of the universality of this tendency. 
The common complaint, that the money power had become 
all-powerful— that its sway is paramount in the legislature 
— and that it is able to set all the other interests in the 
community at defiance, proves how generally this evil is 
experienced in all classes. And a most decisive proof of 
the universal sense of the overwhelming, and often des- 


potic influence of capital, has been afforded within this 
period by the simultaneous springing up, and astonishing 
multiplication in all parts of the country, of joint stock 
companies. (Incorporated companies.) These associa- 
tions, comparatively unknown in former days, when iso- 
lated capital could make its way in the world, demonstrate 
the sense universally entertained of the inability of small 
or moderate fortunes, standing alone, to withstand the 
competition of the great commercial magnates. Like the 
defensive associations of disorderly or dangerous times, 
they are the combination of the weak who are endangered, 
against the strong who threaten danger. But from this 
effort at self-defense has arisen another evil, of no small 
magnitude, and which may come, in process of time to 
overthrow the equilibrium of society. These joint stock 
companies have themselves become a great and formidable 
interest in the state; their sway in the legislature is well 
known to be superior to the East and West India shipping, 
both put together. Falling as they generally do under the 
entire guidance of one or two active and skillful directors, 
they have in effect enormously augmented the influence 
already preponderating, ©f accumulated capital; they often 
commit practically, almost with impunity unbounded in- 
roads upon private property. The obligation of giving 
compensation to property injured or taken is often ren- 
dered almost illusory, from the results of the trials to 
ascertain its value. Defying competition, such companies 
are often deaf to the cries of justice. Industrial, as the 
French say, has come in place of territorial feudality; and 
probably men have already discovered, in most parts of the 
country, that a joint stock railway company, with its patri- 
otic professions, accumulated capital, legislatorial attor- 
neys, skilled engineers, scientific witnesses, railway stock- 
holding jurymen, and legions of Irish laborers, is a more 
formidable neighbor than ever was feudal baron with his 
mailed men-at-arms, stout archers, strong castles, and open 
announcement of destruction to his hereditary enemies. 

"The third feature of the last quarter of a century which is 
in an especial manner worthy of attention is, that while the 
growth of the national wealth, as a whole has been unpre- 
cedented, and of its population equally so in an old state, 


neither the one nor the other have advanced in a propor- 
tional manner over the whole country. Generally speaking, 
the city population has immensely increased, and the rural 
by no means in the same proportion. In some counties the 
latter appears, from the late census, to have actually de- 
clined; in none, excepting the manufacturing districts, has 
it augmented in anything like the proportion of the inhabi- 
tants of cities. This is matter of common remark, and 
generally known, but few are aware of the prodigious ex- 
tent to which the difference is gone. Those who will cast 
their eyes to the notes will see few examples of the differ- 
ence in the progress of the rural and urban population, 
which will probably excite general surprise. (The Author 
here gives a table showing the increase of ten cities and the 
decrease of ten of the rural district* 3 in population.) 

"Nor has the increase of opulence in cities been less re- 
markable than the augmentation in number of their in- 
habitants. The daily display of wealth in the metropolis 
excites the astonishment of every beholder. It is not go- 
ing too far to say that it is double of what it was at the 
close of the war. Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, 
Glasgow, Leeds, Bristol, Dundee, Aberdeen and all the 
trading towns of the empire, have advanced in a similar 
proportion, not merely in the opulence of a few, but the 
evident ease and well-being of a considerable proportion of 
the community. It is impossible to see the streets of com- 
fortable houses calculated for persons of a moderate in- 
come, and the miles of villas beyond them for those more 
advanced in opulence, without becoming sensible that pros- 
perity has almost everywhere descended far into society in 
the urban population." 

" But there are by no means the same symptoms 
of growing prosperit} 7- in the rural districts. We see, 
indeed, cultivation everywhere extended, and the most, 
strenuous efforts frequently made to drain and improve the 
soil, but we perceive scarcely any traces of these exertions 
leading to the accumulations of fortunes among their 
authors, to which they are so well entitled It is painfully 
evident that these efforts are made, not to accumulate 
money but to avert ruin. The farmers are contented if 


they can live; to make fortunes has become so rare among 
them, that it is scarce ever thought of. 

" We often hear of shop-keepers and merchants buying 
villas in the country to enjoy themselves in summer, but 
we never hear of farmers buying houses in town for recre- 
ation in winter. They do not even acquire small properties 
in the countiy. Wealth is evidently not accumulated in 
the hands of the cultivators of the soil. If they can pay 
their rents and maintain their families they deem them- 
selves fortunate. The middle class of land-holders even 
have almost ceased to frequent towns in winter; the pre- 
text is, that they are going abroad, or are sending their 
children to the continent for education. The real fact, 
that they cannot afford living in -towns in Great Britain, 
and they are fain to hide their straitened circumstances 
under the obscurity of a foreign country. The affluence 
of the towns is astonishing; but those at present engaged 
in the labors of agriculture, or in the receipts of its rents 
add but little to it. It is derived from manufacturing or 
commercial opulence, from professional gains, from for- 
tunes brought back from the Colonies, or from capital 
realized from, or rendered a burden on land in former or 
more prosperous times. 

"The last feature — and it is a most distressing one — of 
society for the last twenty -five years in the British Islands, 
has been the extraordinary inequality on the condition of 
the working classes themselves, and the general want of 
those habits of foresight amongst them which are the only 
lasting foundation of durable prosperity. This is the 
more distressing, as it might reasonably have been expected 
to have arisen with the advantages many of them have en- 
joyed. It is a great mistake to say the working classes are 
all permanently miserable. Many of them doubtless are 
so; and what is very extraordinary, certain professions, or 
trades, are generally immersed in poverty, while others in 
their close vicinity are often rioting in affluence. Wages 
differ in a remarkable and most distressing degree in differ- 
ent places. In many of the agricultural districts they are 
as low as seven or eight shillings a week: — (An English 
shilling is one-twentieth of a pound, or about twenty- four 
cents in American money.) — The piecers and female work- 


era in manufactories seldom, save in years of extraordinary 
prosperity, earn more than six shillings. Weavers are 
generally as low as seven shillings a week; in seasons of dis- 
tress they sink to four shillings and even less. On the 
other hand the cotton spinners, iron moulders and other 
skilled trades, earn, in ordinary years, from 20s to 30s a 
week; but the affluence of some professions or branches of 
labor affords no compensation for the degraded and un- 
happy state of others. It is impossible to strike an average 
in such cases. You might as well make an average of the 
happiness of some, and the sorrows of others in private 
life. Perhaps, however, those of the laboring classes who 
are in health and employment and belong to trades which 
are in a state of prosperity are fully as well off as they 
were during any former period of our history. * * * 
"But it is this condition of the poor in the lowest grade 
which is the most extraordinary feature in the last twenty 
years, and which has now assumed such a magnitude as to 
have become, in every point of view, a national concern. 
The hand-loom weavers are everywhere at the starving 
point; with the utmost industry they can never earn more 
than seven or eight shillings a week; during periods of com- 
mercial depression it sinks to four or five. The ease with 
which this trade can be learned, its adaptation to weak or 
sickly constitutions, the early gain made by young persons, 
with the immense temptations of a poor family of avoiding 
a protracted or expensive education for their children by 
adopting it, is the cause of the universal lowness of wages 
in this branch of industry. It is the first step above total 
destitution. But this magnitude and condition of the des- 
titute class itself is the alarming thing. In every great 
town in the empire there is a mass, about the twelfth or 
fifteenth of its number, who are generally in a state of al- 
most total penury. In periods of commercial distress this 
destitute rises to double, sometimes triple its average 
amount. It is from this frightful tribulation of poverty, 
intemperance, vice and destitution that two-thirds of the 
physical contagion which ravages and four-fifths of the con- 
victed crime which burdens society, takes its rise. The 
alarming increase of offenses which penal severity and 


lenity, uncertainty and certainty of punishments, have 
been alike unable to restrain, mainly comes from this class. 

"Close packed in the center and worst parts of every 
great city — crowded together, many families in the same 
room — scarce knowing where to find their daily food, — 
careless because destitute, often joyous because always un- 
foreseeing, this deplorable body are retained within the 
precincts of contagion and vice by the iron bonds of hope- 
less poverty. It is impossible that regular or virtuous 
habits can be acquired, it is scarcely that those of intemp- 
erance and wickedness can be avoided, in their dismal 
abodes. If we penetrate into them we shall find that they 
are not peopled by any one class of society, but by the un- 
fortunate, the reckless, and profligate from every class ; 
and that the great majority, even of the criminals, are 
rather the objects of pity than censure. Widows with 
large families form the most numerous portion of this deso- 
late community; destitute old men, young theives, aban- 
doned drunkards, licentious prostitutes, shameless publicans, 
audacious receivers of stolen goods, and once virtuous 
families, brought into such hideous society, by being 
thrown out of employment, compose the remainder. And 
all this exists unnoticed, unrelieved, within a few hundred 
yards of the most unbounded opulence, amidst luxury un- 
heard of, prosperity unexampled, and in a community 
making a more rapid progress in material resources than 
any that ever yet appeared upon earth. 

"For a long period after the conclusion of the war it was 
said that the public distress, which was so generally and 
poignantly felt by all the industrious classes, was owing to 
the transition from the vast national expenditure of the war 
to the comparatively limited expenditure of the*peace ; and 
without doubt this cause, for some years had a very 
powerful influence. But it has long ceased to have any 
effect. It is rather too late to speak of the transition from 
war to peace prices, when we are in the thirtieth year of 
unbroken European peace ; when we have during that time 
twice had, in 1821-5 and 1835-6 a perilous plethora of exu- 
berant prosperity, when the duplication of our imports 
proved a corresponding increase in the means of purchas- 
ing foreign luxuries, and the trippling of our exports has 


more than counter balanced the diminished purchases or 
expenditure on the part of government." 

It is interesting to note that the English people passed 
through the same stages of controversy which have charac. 
terized the American situation during the past twenty-five 
years. British resumption was preceded, as before stated, 
with the demonetization of silver and the limitation of its 
legal tender quality, and also followed by an immense con- 
traction of the currency which amounted to nearly one-half 
of the paper in circulation. Distress among the agricul- 
tural classes and among all branches of labor ensued, as a 
matter of course, and Parliament was petitioned by every 
class of industry for relief. 


At this point the tariff empiric made his appearance and 
the people were told that public distress was neither caused 
by a contraction of the currency nor by a deficiency of the 
circulating medium, but was caused by the sudden tran- 
sition from war to peace and by the burdens of taxation. 
That as soon as the nation would be relieved from this bur- 
den and when again settled into its accustomed state of 
tranquility, things would go on as before and all classes of 
society would be prosperous. 

They were told that the thing which afflicted English 
industries most was their system of indirect taxation — 
tariff duties. If these could be repealed all classes would 
at once emerge into an era of unparalleled prosperity. 

The farmers were skeptical, however, and petitioned for 
loans from the Government at alow rate of interest — loans 
based on staple agricultural products and upon land. (See 
Bicardo's Works, p. 456.) But they were told this would 
never do as it would lead to an inflation of the currency 
which would certainly prove detrimental to all classes. 


Diminished burdens was the remedy. This would relieve 
them of their distresses. Nothing else was necessary. 
Constant use of cathartics and total abstinence from tonics 
was the sum total of the political therapeutics of the period. 
Eicardo published his work upon political economy; 
learned speeches were made in Parliament; reports of par- 
liamentary committees filled the journals of both houses; 
and finally the concensus of opinion approved of the plan 
of repealing gradually the indirect taxes with a view to 
reaching ultimate free trade and to secure the relief so 
sorely needed. Accordingly the plan was entered upon, 
and between 1819 and 1845, there were 30,000,000^. of 
indirect taxes repealed and England reached a condition of 
trade which is characterized by the economists of our day 
as being practically free from the abomination of protective 
laws. Has British labor been emancipated in consequence? 
In spite of the relief which came to labor and agriculture 
from a repeal of the so-called protective duties, the condi- 
tion of the laboring classes of Great Britain has grown 
worse from year to year, and the number of land-owners 
has constantly diminished. The reflective mind will find 
in this ample proof that labor needs something more than 
mere relief from its pack-saddle. The pittance saved by 
the repeal of taxes will not alone afford relief. He must 
have rest, food, and opportunity for intellectual and 
moral culture. To secure these essential comforts the 
income from his toil must be materially increased. With- 
out money his wants can only be appeased at the hand of 
charity. If his money has been filched from him it should 
be restored. If withheld it should be granted him at once. 
But let our enlightened historian, Mr. Alison, point out 
to us the real cause of distress among the British laboring 
people. After showing that the repeal of tariff duties did 
not relieve them, he says: 


" Some external causes, therefore, must have paralyzed 
and blighted the financial resources of the nation in the 
midst of such unbounded and increasing growth of the 
national wealth since the peace. And the all-important 
question arises — what was it which had this effect ? 

" The answer is: it was the Contraction of the Currency, 
which was unnecessarily made to accompany the resump- 
tion of cash payments by the bill of 1819, which has been 
the chief cause of all these effects. * * * 

'"It need hardly be told to the most heedless or superfi- 
cial reader, that a currency is required to carry on the 
transactions, public and private, of men in their intercourse 
of exchange with each other; that it consists in general, of 
the precious metals, which by the common consent of men 
are employed and have been so from the earliest period, 
for that purpose on account of their being at once rare, 
durable and portable; and that, in civilized and mercantile 
communities, paper notes, of some sort or other, have been 
usually resorted to in modern times to meet the wants of 
commerce, and remove the evils which may be frequently 
felt from the supply of the precious metals being less than 
the community require. 

"It follows, as a necessary consequence from this, that 
when the commercial transactions of a nation increase the 
circulating medium should increase also. This is as nec- 
essary a step as that, when a people increase the subsis- 
tence by which they are to be maintained should be aug- 
mented in a similar proportion. If twenty millions of men 
on an average of years and transactions, require forty mil- 
lions of circulating medium to conduct their transactions, 
and if these men swell to thirty millions, they will require, 
other things being equal, sixty millions for their transac- 
tions. If a supply proportioned to the increase of men and 
the wants of their commercial intercourse is not afforded 
the circulating medium will become scarce, it will rise in 
price from that scarcity, and become accessible only to the 
more rich and affluent classes. The industrious poor, or 
those engaged in business, but possessed of small capital, 
will be the first to suffer: they will find it impossible to get 
the currency necessary to carry on their business, and will 
fail in consequence. To retain the circulating medium of a 


country at a stationary or declining amount, when its 
numbers are rapidly increasing, and* their transactions are 
daily augmenting in number and importance, is the same 
thing as it would be to affix a limit to the issuing of rations 
to an army, at a time when the number of soldiers it con- 
tained was constantly augmenting; or to reduce the quan- 
tity of oil used in a machine when the wheels which required 
its application were always on the increase. The inevita- 
ble result would be, that numbers would be famished in the 
first case, and the weaker parts of the machine impeded by 
friction in the second. 

"When the precious metals, either over the whole world, 
or in a particular state become more abundant than form- 
erly, the necessary consequence is, that they become less 
valuable and ^ consequently decline in price. But as, by 
the custom of all civilized nations, value is measured by a 
certain amount of the precious metals, either coined or un- 
coined, received or capable of being received, for them 
when brought in to market, this decline in value in the cir- 
culating medium is rendered apparent by a rise in the 
money price of all other articles. For example, if a quar- 
ter of wheat is worth, or will buy, at a certain time, in a 
particular country, half a pound weight of or pure silver, 
and by a sudden addition to the productiveness of the 
mines, which supply the world with. the precious metals, 
the amount in circulation is doubled, the result will be, that 
a quarter of wheat will be worth, or will sell for, a whole 
pound of pure silver. And, e converso, if the supply of 
precious metals is again contracted to its former amount 
by a failure in the sources from which they are obtained, 
or an extraordianry absorption or hoarding of them in any 
particular part of the world, so that the currency in the 
country is restored to its former and more limited amount, 
a quarter of wkeat will again come to be worth, or to be 
equal in value in exchange, to half a pound of pure silver 
only. All this is the necessary result of the principal that 
commodities are valuable and bring high prices when they 
are scarce, and decline in exchangeable value and bring 
low prices while they are abundant, which is universally 
and constantly evinced in the transactions of private life." 


The evils which followed the passage of the resumption 
act threw British society into confusion, and distrust seized 
generally upon the public mind. In the autumn of 1817 
the terrified Government induced the banks to raise the 
circulation to something near the amount that was flow- 
ing in the channels of trade prior to the commencement of 
contraction. We quote from an English work written and 
published by Jonathan Duncan, in 1857, to show the magi- 
cal effect which this reissue of paper had on the commerce 
of the empire : 

"The consequence was that prices again rose actually to 
the level of the war, and general prosperity returned, thus 
refuting the silly idea prevalent among many classes that a 
state of hostilities had caused the rise, the truth being that 
it was wholly due to the emission of paper money. If his- 
torical evidence be demanded to sustain the doctrine, such 
evidence is at hand. During the American war ©f inde- 
pendence, the colonies used paper money, while England 
retained its metal money. At that period all prices ad- 
vanced in America ; in England no advance took place. In 
the war against revolutionary and imperial France, England 
adopted paper money ; France maintained its metal money. 
Land and all products advanced in England, they maintained 
an equal level in France, after the supression ©f assig- 
nats and mandats. Prices did not advance in England during 
the American war of independence, nor in France during 
the war to which we have referred. * * * It has 
been stated that the prices rose in 1818 to the war level, and 
that rise has been referred to the expansion of legal tenders 
of seven millions over and beyond the amount of circulation 
prior to the autumn of 1817. It was shown before the 
agricultural committee of 1821 that, in 1818, wheat was 84s 
and Id per quarter as compared, not with the consumption 
of the war, but with the consumption of 1818. Taking 
the large towns of Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, 
Sheffield and Leeds, not only bread, but meat, fell in 1819, 
1820 and 1821, that is after gold payments were ordered to 
be resumed. The fall in meats in those towns proved before 


the committee to have been fifteen per cent ; and proved 
by the most decisive evidence, the diminution of hides 
being fifteen per cent. If any one superficially considers 
that a fall of fifteen per cent was a proof of cheapness, 
let him bear in mind that the supply of animal food had 
declined with the same scale of percentage ; and let him 
further take notice that a petition from Birmingham to 
Parliament in 1812, stated that less butcher's meat was con- 
sumed as butchers meat fell, Showing such a decline of 
wages simultaneously with the decline of food, as deprived 
the working classes of that command over commodities 
which they had enjoyed in 1818, when the supply of the 
legal tender was ample. 

"The year 1818 was not only a prosperous year for agri- 
culture, but a prosperous } r ear for commerce and shipping. 
In reply to questions asked by the committee on foreign 
trade, which sat in 1820, Mr. Tindall, an eminent ship 
builder, said, that in 1818, the value of ships had recovered 
from depression; and that there was enough employment 
for all ships, including the transports discharged after the 
war, of good freights.'" Mr. Tooke stated, "In 1818 I had 
very great difficulty indeed, in getting the requisite quantity 
of shipping." But, in 1819 and 1820, that is after Peel's 
bill was passed, ships were again too numerous for com- 
merce; then Mr. Tooke said, "he could have procured 
double the quantity of tonnage he desired." Mr. Maryatt, 
a member of the House of Commons, and a most extensive 
West India merchant, averred in a speech delivered by him 
in Parliament in 1820, that a vessel called 'The Sesostris,' 
which cost in 1818, £12,175, was sold in 1820 for £6,300. 
If this case stood alone, it would be insignificant in support 
of the present argument; but Mr. Maryatt declared that the 
rule was universal, of which he cited numerous instances. 
In fact, in 1818, commerce, manufactures and agriculture 
all flourished. The following statement is taken from the 
report of the finance committee of 1S19, in which it com- 
ments on the revenue of 1818: 

"It appears that the total revenue of Great Britain in the 
year 1818, exceeded the same revenue for 1817, by the sum 
of £1,705,510; and that the total revenue of Ireland for 
1818 (when money was plentiful) exceeded that for 1817 


by the sum or £192,969, making a total improvement of 
the revenue of the United Kingdom, as compared with 
1817, of £1,898,479; but this comparison will be rendered 
still more correct, and the result will be more favorable, if 
the sum of £2,230,531. being the amount of unappropriated 
war duties received in 1817, be deducted from the income 
received in that year; and if the sum of £566,639, the 
amount of appropriated war duties received in 1818, be also 
deducted from the total revenue received in 1818. It will 
then appear that an improvement to the amount of £3,662,- 
371 has actually taken place in the premanent revenue of 
the United Kingdom in 1818, as compared with 1817- " 


The return to specie payments in England was forced by 
the holders of bullion who were doubtless backed and sup- 
ported by the British aristocracy and the principal share 
holders in the Bank of England. The country bankers, the 
merchants and traders, petitioned Parliament against the 
passage of the Peel bill, but their petitions were disre- 
garded. The elder Peel in presenting a petition of this 
character made the following statement in Parliament: — 

"In looking at the reports which have been published on 
the subject, he must sa} r that the witnesses (those examined 
by the committee having the Peel bill in charge) were not 
men likely to give any information to the public, not men 
acquainted with the state of the country; the last men who 
should have been questioned if the government wanted to 
arrive at the merits of the case. He begged to state his 
opinion, that the petitioners were the best judges of such 
a measure. He would also add, that though they were in- 
timately connected with all that concerned the welfare of 
the country, the most experienced men, and the best quali- 
fied from their connection with our manufacturers and com- 
merce, yet they had not been examined before the committee.^ 


"To show that tho act of 1819 was passed in utter ignor- 
ance of its character, we must here deviate from strict 
chronological order, to what transpired in 1832, when Mr. 
Mathias Atwood was examined before the select committee 
on the state of agriculture. That gentleman was asked, 
'Do you remember what was stated at the time in Parlia- 
ment on that subject — that the act of 1819, would not alter 
prices more than four or five per cent, at the utmost?' 

Mr. Atwood gave this answer: 

" It was never stated that the abolition of the silver 
standard would alter prices at all. It was stated, with ref- 
erence to the act of 1819, which established the present 
standard, that this would alter prices to the extent of four 
or perhaps five per cent. A member of the committee of 
1819, stated in his place in the House of Commons, nine 
years after that time, that he, as a member of the commit- 
tee, was entirely mislead as to the character of the meas- 
ure which was founded on its recommendation and report. 
He stated that, in his belief, every member of that com- 
mittee was similarly mislead; he addressed himself to the 
chairman to ask if this was not so; he stated that the com- 
mittee, entirely inexperienced in such matters, were mis- 
lead by witnesses perfectly uninformed, who talked of a 
fall of prices of four or five per cent, when it was since 
rendered undeniable that a fall of prices had been pro- 
duced, and an alteration in the valne of money, not of four 
or five per cent, but of twenty, thirty, or forty per cent; 
that if the character of that measure, the act of 1819, had 
been known to him he would not have voted for such a 
measure, or supported it in the House or in the committee, 
nor did he believe that any one member of the committee, 
knowing the character of the measure, would have sup- 
ported it, or that the chairman of the committee would 
have done so." 

"Mr. Atwood was then asked if Mr. Robert Peel was 
not the chairman alluded to ? The answer was ' Yes, he 
was present and made no answer to the statement' It was 
Mr. Bankes who made the statement. Another member 
of the House of Commons, Sir James Graham, put a ques- 
tion to the chairman of the committee (Mr. Robert Peel) 



in the House immediately after the statement of Mr. 
Bankes, whether he contradicted that statement, and he 
gave no contradiction. 

" We return to the year 1819. Not one word was said 
in debate of that clause in the suspension act which pledged 
Parliament to restore cash payment six months after a 
definitive treaty of peace. It was felt that such a preten- 
sion, several years after peace had been signed, was ridic- 
ulous. The reasoning of the bullionists was of a very 
different character. As their spokesman they put forward 
Mr. Bicardo, a gentleman largely engaged in stock 
exchange operations, and who was looked up to as an 
authority on trade and finance, he being the author of some 
able works on political economy. He gave it as his opin- 
ion that the return to cash payments would only lower 
prices about four per cent, and he was believed as an oracle 
is believed. This fall was so trifling that all effective 
opposition ceased. Mr. Baring, Mr. Atwood, and Mr. 
ElKce warned the House that the fall would be twenty-five 
and probably fifty per cent, but their counsel was unheeded. 
But it must be stated in justice to Mr. Hicardo, that he 
afterwards had the magnanimity to confess the gravity of 
his error, thus favorably contrasting with those whom a false 
pride or some motive still more unworthy, rendered obstinate 
and callous. 

"On Mr. Western's motion in 1823, Mr. Kicardo said he 
had computed the whole rise in the value of money since 
Mr. Peel's act at ten per cent., but at the same time avowed 
that he had very little ground for forming any correct 
opinion on the subject. "By comparing money," he said, 
"with standard value, we had certain means of judging of 
its depreciation, but he knew of none by which we were 
able to ascertain with certainty alterations in real or absolute 
value. * * * 

"Mr. Kicardo lived to change his opinion concerning the 
effect of the Peel bill and shortly before he died, expressed 
that he had done so. The late Sir Win. Heygate was with 
him when he said, 'Ah, Heygate, you and a few others 
who opposed us on cash payments have proved right. I 
said that the difference at most would only be five per cent., 
and you said at the least it would be twenty-five per cent.' 


"Thus it appears that the act of 1819, was condemned 
by its chief promotor; and it will be remembered that Mr. 
Bankes, a member of the committee which had recom- 
mended the House to pass if, declared it was passed under a 
complete misapprehension of its nature and consequences. 
These facts are important; they refute the silly assertion 
that the currency question is settled, and furnish the strong- 
est argument in favor of a serious reconsideration of our 
whole monetary system. 

""Immediately on the passing of the bill prices began to 
fall. Those persons were fortunate who obtained seventy- 
five pounds for what had previously sold for one hundred. 
Profits and wages rapidly and extensively declined. Eiots 
broke out in the manufacturing towns. The Luddites at- 
tributed their suffering to machinery, and destroyed it when 
they were able. Large meetings were held, demanding 
Parliamentary reform as the proper cure for the evils en- 
dured. To aggravate the pressure, and add fuel to the 
flames of discontent, three millions of fresh taxation were 
imposed. The agricultural laborers now emulated the 
mechanics of the towns, burning corn stacks and hay ricks, 
for which some of them were hanged. The harvest of 1821 
and 1822 proved abundant; wheat fell to 43s and 3d., and 
the ruined farmers petitioned for agricultural relief. Gov- 
ernment, infatuated with bullion errors and spurning the 
idea that any distress could arise from the resumption of 
cash payments, attributed all misery of which the farmers 
complained to the extraordinary productiveness of the 
crops (overproduction). Such ignorance and impiety are 
scarcely credible, but the fact is not to be disputed, as 
the Parliamentary debates in Hansard attest; nay more, the 
walls of Parliament rang with approving cheers when the 
doctrine was enunciated. However, the ministerial triumph 
was short. Not only were the English laboring classes 
unable to obtain bread in the midst of this imaginary over- 
production, but quickly news arrived that there was afamine 
in Ireland. Subscriptions were raised; every pulpit, by 
royal command, was put into requisition to solicit alms, 
and the bubble of overproduction burst." (Jonathan Dun- 
can, on the Currency, 101 to 112, inclusive.) 


Having acquainted ourselves with the practical operation 
and effects of the liberal system of finance adopted by Great 
Britain during the protracted struggle for the overthrow of 
Napoleon, and having been made familiar with the disas- 
trous and merciless consequence which followed the return 
of the mother country to the gold basis after the close of 
that struggle, let us now recall our own experience under 
like circumstances and policy of legislation. The duplica- 
tion of history will become strikingly apparent as we 

AMERICA FROM 1857 TO 1861. 

In the year 1857 the people of the United States were 
precipitated into financial revulsion. The crisis was brought 
on by an unhealthy extension of all forms of bank and com- 
mercial credit. This expansion occurred while the business 
of the country was on a specie basis. In the month of 
October of that year the banks universally suspended cash 
payments, and the importers of dutiable merchandise stored 
their wares without payment of duty, as the law permit- 
ted them to do, for a period of three years. The founda- 
tion upon which the business of the country rested suddenly 
gave way and of course the whole super-structure tum- 
bled into ruins. The people were deluged with debt and 
stood empty handed amid the wreckage of existing disaster 
facing an impending crisis of prodigious magnitude 
which was destined to burst upon them before they could 
possibly have time to rebuild their fortunes. On December 
22, Congress, following the recommendation of Secre- 
tary Cobb, passed an act authorizing the issue of $20,000,- 
000 of interest-bearing treasury notes, which were made 
receivable in payment of all dues to the United States. 
This enabled the Government to meet current expenses, 
but relief was not extensively felt in the ordinary 


channels of trade as there were no notes issued of less 
denomiation than fifty dollars. Business recuperated at 
snail's pace and the crippled fortunes of those who suffered 
disaster dwindled away or were largely consumed by costs 
incurred in legal proceedings brought for the collection of 
debt. The people staggared along as best they could for a 
couple of years and were slowly recovering from the panic, 
when they were suddenly confronted with the portentious 
political contest of 1860 which ushered in the protracted 
and bloody drama that followed. 

When Mr. Lincoln was inaugurated he found an empty 
Treasury, and it soon became apparent that the accumulated 
resources of the country were wholly inadequate to meet 
the unprecedented emergencies of the situation. 

The initial epoch in the struggle of Great Britain for the 
overthrow of Napoleon was of four years duration — from 
1793 to 1796, inclusive — and it was, as we have seen, a 
period of widespread financial depression. It is a remark- 
able fact that our Government was scourged and chastened 
in almost exactly the. same way for a like period of four 
years prior to the breaking out of the rebellion. Our 
financial troubles began with the panic of 1857 and the 
early months of 1861 plunged us into the vortex of civil 

from 1861 to 1865. 

Fort Sumter surrendered April 14. President Lincoln 
immediately called for seventy-five thousand men. By 
June most of the Southern States had seceded, and in that 
month General Butler, being insufficiently supported, was 
6orely pressed at Big Bethel. The disastrous battle of 
Bull Run followed in July and the Union forces fell back 
upon Washington. Within two days a call was issued for 
*a half million volunteers to serve for three years. Con- 


gress met in extra session July 4. The meagre amount of 
specie in the country soon became apparent and the total 
inadequacy of our circulating media was plainly seen by 
all. The Secretary, Mr. Chase, submitted to Congress his 
plans for raising funds, which consisted of a resort to the 
issue of Treasury notes. By the acts of July 17 and August 
5, 1861, the Secretary was authorized to issue two hundred 
and forty millions of twenty year Treasury notes, bearing 
not to exceed seven per cent, or 7 3-10 per cent Treasury 
notes, and he was also authorized to issue a limited 
quantity of Demand notes, bearing no interest but receiv- 
able for dues. In August, 1861, Demand notes were issued, 
the total amount finally aggregating 660,000,000. The 
New York banks refused to receive them except on special 
deposit, and the railroads refused them in payment of fares 
and freight. The Secretary and subordinate treasury offi- 
cials signed an agreement in writing to receive them in 
payment of their salaries ! General Scott, in September, 
1861, issued a general order, which was read to the army, 
stating that "The Treasury Department, to meet future 
payments to the troops, is about to supply, besides coin, 
Treasury notes in five, ten and twenty dollars, as good as 

These notes were made a legal tender by the act approved 
March IT, 1862. 

Specie payments were suspended December 28, 1861, and 
as these demand notes were receivable for customs duties they 
speedily rose to par with gold and there remained, sub- 
stantially, through all the vicissitudes of the war until they 
were retired. 

Following the issue of Demand notes came the vast issues 
of Government paper of various kinds and descriptions. 
When this mine of wealth and power was opened up, the 
spirit and matchless courage of the army, the devotion and 


enthusiasm of the people, and the resolute unfaltering pur- 
pose of the administration united to astonish and dazzle 
the world by their achievements. As the sinews of war 
were supplied agriculture bounded into prosperity, labor 
found ample employment at remunerative wages, mercan- 
tile pursuits became lucrative, artisans flourished and un- 
precedented prosperity abounded in country, village and 
city — and all this despite the terrible strain of the war. 
The purse of Fortunatus had been found. A vast mine of 
power, a great store-house — filled with almost limitless 
wealth, had been opened to the astonished gaze of the peo- 
ple, and from that moment the strength of the Republic 
became irresistaole. The area of cultivated land rapidly 
increased, immense lines of transportation were projected 
and completed, and the revenues, which were so meagre at 
the commencement of hostilities as to render the Govern- 
ment an object of contempt, under the improved systems 
of taxation, public loans and the enhanced ability of the 
people to pay, suddenly became ample to meet the unpre- 
cedented emergencies and demands incident to that gigantic 
struggle. The power of the Government and the strength 
of its finances increased as the war advanced. Each suc- 
ceeding call for additional troops was rapidly filled, and 
confidence in the value of public securities increased as the 
calls for the sinews of war multiplied. The capitalists 
who rejected the paltry sixty millions of Demand notes in 
1861, were eager to invest in the almost illimitable issues 
of 1864r-5. The Nation had been lifted out of the narrow 
and sordid ruts of bigoted economists and had emerged into 
the broad realm which recognized the omnipotence of the 

The war closed in a blaze of glory after four years of 
bloody sacrifice. The soldiers of the victorious army 
returned to their sections of the Union and were amazed to 


find the country in a state of unexampled prosperity. 
About two billions of dollars of various kinds of money 
had been poured into the channels of trade resulting in a 
flood tide of opulence which reached to every village and 
hamlet in the North. 

Secretary McCulloch, in his report to Congress, Decem- 
ber 4, 1865, publicly recognized the improved condition of 
the country and said: "The country, as a whole, notwith- 
standing the ravages of the war, and the draught which had 
been made upon labor, is, by its greatly developed resources, 
far in advance of real wealth of what it was in 1857 when 
the last severe financial crisis occurred. ^ The people are 
now comparatively free from debt." * * 

"There is an immense volume of paper money in circula- 

Speaking of the advance in the prices of those articles 
which were in demand by the Government, the secretary 

" On a basis of paper money, for which there is no out- 
let, all articles needed for immediate use, of which it 
became the measure of value, felt and responded to the 
daily increase of the currency; so that rents and the prices 
of most articles for which there has been a demand have 
been, with slight fluctuations, constantly advancing from 
the commencement of the war, and are higher now, with 
gold at forty-seven per cent premium, than they were when 
it was one hundred and eighty-five. Even those which 
were affected by the fall of gold upon the surrender of the 
confederate armies, or by the increased supply or dimin- 
ished demand, are advancing again to the former if not 
higher rates." 

The Secretary further says: 

"It is undoubtedly true that trade is carried on much more 
largely for cash than was ever the case previous to 1861, 
and that there is a much greater proper demand for money 
than there would be if sales were made, as heretofore, on 


credit. It is also true that there is a larger demand than 
formerly for money on the part of manufacturers for the 
payment of operatives." 

Both white slaves and black had been emancipated at 
one and the same time. 


The countr} r , under the encouragement afforded by a 
sufficient volume of non-exportable domestic currency, well 
distributed, had grown and expanded into proportions 
which were but feebly comprehended by the astute head of 
the Treasury department. It is evident, also, that both he 
and the speculative and sinister coterie which surrounded 
him, were either unable to comprehend the great econemic 
lessons which had been evolved by the war, or they were 
unwilling to accept the truth which had been thrust upon 
them by the logic of events. In the same report to which 
we have already alluded the Secretary further expressed 
himself as follows: 

"The expansion has now reached such a point as to be 
absolutely oppressive to a large portion of the people while 
at the same time it is diminishing labor, and is becoming 
subversive of good morals. There is no 

fact more manifest than that the plethora of paper money 
is not only undermining the morals of the people by encour- 
aging waste aud extravagance, but is striking at the root of 
our national prosperity by diminishing labor. * * * 
The remedy, and the only remedy within the control of 
Congress is, in the opinion of the secretary, to be found in 
the reduction of the currency." 

feom 1866 to 1875. 

Congress responded to the fervent appeals of this high 
official and passed an act approved April 12, 1866, which 
authorized the Secretary of the Treasury, at his discretion, 
to receive Treasury notes or other obligations issued under 


any *at:t of Congress, whether bearing interest or not, in 
exchange for Government bonds. This inaugurated the 
policy of contraction, set the cremation furnace ablaze for 
the cineration of our currency, and started the vast majority 
of persons possessed of limited means and who were en- 
wao-ed in legitimate business, across lots to inevitable bank- 
ruptcy. On the 31st day of August, 1865, the public debt 
reached its maximum and amounted to $2,845,907,626.65. 
Of this only $1,109,568,191 was bonded debt. (See Knox's 
work on U. S. Notes, page 85.) The remainder consisted 
of treasury notes and currency obligations of various kinds 
in circulation as money. By June 30, 1869 — a period of 
three years and ten months, the bonded debt had increased, 
under the currency contraction policy, to 82,166,568,920. 
(See statement of the bonded debt, at various peiiods, 
made by the Comptroller, in his report of 1889, page 35.) 

In other words, the funded debt had increased over one 
billion dollars, while various kinds of obligations in use 
among the people as currency had decreased in like amount. 

This tremendous contraction, coupled with the fact that 
more than ten millions of people residing in the south had, 
by the close of the war, been suddenly added to our money 
using population, compelled the people to substitute credit 
for money. They ceased to pay cash and plunged into 
debt wholly oblivious to the fact that the money kings had 
decreed a universal and disastrous fall in prices. The ten 
millions of people in the South were now competitors for 
the residue of currency which has escaped the cremation 
furnace, and this fact alone would have produced a strin- 
gency if there had not been a dollar destroyed. But the 
va3t body of business people, being entirely ignorant of 
what was going on at the Treasury and unadvised both as to 
the fact of contraction and the effect which was doomed to 
follow, plunged ahead as though nothing had happened, 


confidently expecting money to be as plentiful in the future 
as it had been in the past. Disappointment was of course 
inevitable ; and then began the process of binding burdens 
upon the shoulders and backs of the people. The load 
was carried through the first year and then renewed and 
increased. At the end of the second, mortgage security 
was largely called for and prices continued to fall; but the 
people were assured that their sufferings were only the 
result of the over-production and transition from war to 
peace. Wages began to decline, manufacturers and the 
whole range of industries reduced their employes to the 
minimum, extra farm hands were discharged, domestic 
help dispensed with and incidental expenses curtailed 
throughout the entire country. But nothing could avert 
the impending calamity. The people staggered along as 
best they could from 1867 to 1873 and then fell down 
beneath the weight of accumulated burdens. Crash fol- 
lowed crash until it seemed doubtful whether there were any 
business establishments strong enough to resist the current 
of disaster. Mercantile and bank failures became so 
common as scarcely to attract attention and despondency 
took the place of hope and activity. Consumption of the 
necessities of life diminished in proportion as the ability to 
purchase was taken away. Meantime, as if to mock the 
short sighted and viscious economists and legislators of the 
period, Providence threw annually into the laps of the 
people such a succession of bountiful harvests as had never 
before been known since man began to cultivate the soil 
of the New World. And yet, nothwithstanding it all, 
hunger stalked the streets of our cities, filled our manu- 
faeturing districts with gloom, and the lack of consumption 
at the centers of population left the crops to rot in the 
fields, mould in the bins or to be exported for what could 
be obtained on an over-supplied European market. Manu- 


factures were sparingly called for and nnder-consumptioD 
became the forced economy of every household. The 
army of the unemployed increased as the bounties of nature 
multiplied, until every highway, every village, every city 
was thronged with tramps. They besieged every train and 
sometimes in such numbers as to force their passage from 
one locality to another. They slept upon the ground and 
begged for work and bread during the summer, and sued 
for lodging and a crust in the lockups and prisons in the 

But those who inaugurated the malevolent policy which 
precipitated these results were unrelenting and pursued 
their plan with cruel persistency. Like military chieftains 
who sit safely in the rear and cooly calculate the loss of life 
likely to take place in a contemplated battle, so these self- 
constituted economists had counted the losses and cost 
likely to follow the execution of their schemes and hence 
were not disturbed when they were brought face to face 
with them. Indeed they had the great precedent of modern 
times before them when they mapped out their plans, and 
knew approximately the calamities which were to follow. 


The influence of British wealth and British institutions 
have always been potential in financial circles in the United 
States. The confidential relations and sympathies which 
always exist between great financial houses and fiscal man- 
agers of neighboring nations, tend in the very nature of 
things to bring about mutual understandings and accommo- 
dation of ideas. Such persons are not likely to be deeply 
in love with the doctrine of human equality or to be espe- 
cially interested in systems of political economy which are 
designed to build up the power and the independence of 
the industrial classes. The usurers of the world know what 


they want and they ask for it without hesitation. At the 
veiy first session of Congress under the Constitution an act 
was passed to charter a United States bank carefully pat- 
terned after the bank of England — an institution which has 
been the chief solace of the aristocracy and nobility of 
that realm since Patterson, the buccaneer, and Montague 
the courtier founded and fashioned it for their special ben- 

One of the chief reasons urged by General Jackson for 
his determined fight against the United States bank was 
the fact that British and other foreign capitalists were share- 
holders in it, and hence could undermine the prosperity of 
our people and endanger the stability of the Republic. 
The old hero understood that a Democratic government 
had no use for an aristocratic or monarchial system of 
finance. He knew that the two could not flourish together. 
But the times were not auspicious for the British system of 
finance in Jackson's day. There was no public debt upon 
which it could be founded. The last obligation was called 
in and paid during his admirable administration, and a 
large surplus was divided among the States and thus 
returned to the people. 

Extensive and intimate Commercial relations between the 
two countries as well as the social and business courtesies 
constantly exchanged between the financial magnates of 
the old world and the new, served to impress upon the 
moneyed men of this country the superiority and excel- 
lence of the English system; and all that was needed was 
an opportunity and a plausible pretext for its introduction 
into our fiscal polity. Both were furnished by the late civil 
war, and they were eagerly improved. The promoters of 
the plot not only secured the adoption of the sj^stem, but 
they induced the Government to levy tribute upon the 
people to furnish the means necessary to its establishment. 


They monetized the credit of the whole people and 
bestowed it gratuitously upon men who had schemed 
throughout that perilous struggle to embarrass the Treas- 
ury and hence to discourage our arms. 

The foundation of the English system was laid in this 
country when the various acts were passed to authorize the 
issue of the different classes of war bonds. This was a 
tremendous stride towards a perpetual National debt. 
Then followed in train the exception clause in the Legal 
Tender act, the law authorizing the exchange of United 
States notes at their face value for Five-twenty bonds. The 
whole scheme was finally consummated by the passage of 
the National Bank acts of 1863-4, and the contempora- 
neous act making the banks the fiscal agents and deposi- 
tories of Government funds. 

Next in order came the act pledging the payment of all 
Government obligations in coin. In due time (1873-4) 
came the acts prohibiting the further coinage of silver dol- 
lars and restricting their legal tender quality to sums of five 
dollars. In this they exceeded the British act of 1819 
from which the American law was copied. The English 
act made silver a legal tender for forty shillings, about ten 
dollars in United States money. 

The battle of Waterloo which terminated the long strug- 
gle for the overthrow of Napoleon, took place in June, 1815, 
and within a brief period thereafter preparations began for 
the resumption of cash payments. Peel's bill for this pur- 
pose passed in 1819, but preliminary legislation, such as 
the act to demonetize silver and others, were passed prior to 
that date. They were about four years in inaugurating the 
cruel and relentless policy. A like period was occupied in 
this country. Our so-called Resumption Act was passed in 
1875, and it provided for resumption of cash payments 
January 1, 1879. The result in England is graphically 


described by Sir Archibald Alison, in the quotations above 
given. The reader will note how completely the afflictions 
following resumption in this country correspond with the 
dire calamities which befell Great Britain under like fatal 

When the financial crisis of 1873 was precipitated upon 
this country, who, as a general rule, were first to suffer? 
It was the industrious poor and those engaged in business 
with small capital. The first were cast adrift without labor 
and the latter driven into helpless bankruptcy. The gloom 
of dispair settled over whole communities of laboring peo- 
ple and labor centers became the centers of want and 

The next disheartening manifestation was among the til- 
lers of the soil. The price of agricultural products fell far 
below remunerative prices, and with but short exceptional 
periods, the same discouraging situation has continued un- 
til the present day. The great majority of those who were 
in debt when the panic came, have been unable to extricate 
themselves. They lost their homes and were driven into 
the towns and cities to find a pracarious subsistence in lo- 
calities already congested and overcrowded. Gradually, 
those possessed of large capital which had been doubled by 
the fall in prices, began to loan their money at high rates 
of interest, taking agricultural lands for security. This 
seemed to promise relief to this important branch of in- 
dustry, and as the distress was universal, the borrowing be- 
came general. It reached every community in every state. 
But the prices of all kinds of farm produce continued to 
rule so low that it was soon ascertained that after taxes and 
a bare living were deducted from the income of the farm, 
there was barely enough, and in thousands of instances, 
not enough left to pay the interest due on the mortgage. 
It was found that in every instance where the farm was 


mortgaged, there were two families to be supported from 
its products — that of the mortgagor and that of the mort- 
gagee, and the latter's family had to be supplied first. New 
England had become to the agricultural West and South a 
veritable Old England. Our wealth was drained into her 
coffers as certainly as that of Ireland was drained into the 
pockets of the landed aristocracy of Great Britain. 

Population continued to increase and money became 
proportionately scarce. The song of over-production was 
sung, the convenient theory that our distresses were caused 
by the sudden transition from war to peace was urged from 
every stump and filled the pages of every magazene, Execu- 
tive message, and financial report, but still the blight and 
mildew remained. 

The next noteworthy manifestation of the abnormal con- 
dition of our economy was the rapid multification cf incor- 
porated companies. Finding money scarce and hard to 
get, combinations, incorporated and clothed with special 
privileges, not enjoyed by individuals, were formed to 
crush out personal enterprise and control trade. These have 
multiplied by tens of thousands in every state and territory 
in the Onion. Thus rivalry sprang up between corporations 
and the warfare gave rise to the trust, which is an asso- 
ciation of corporations formed to limit production and arbi- 
trarily fix prices. This form of association controls almost 
every branch of manufactured products and casts its bale- 
ful power into every communit}^. It has grown so strong 
as to defy the Government and proudly challenge organ- 
ized labor to open combat. 

These were exactly the phenomena which accompanied 
contraction and specie resumption in England. The 
depression among the agricultural classes there produced 
great distress and the farmers organized and petitioned for 
Government loans. But they were hampered by ballot 


restriction and could not make their petitions effective. 
And now the same old tariff* quack is abroad in the United 
States. He is prescribing the same medicine for the Amer- 
ican patient. Take, he says, the same treatment that was 
prescribed for England under like conditions and all will 
be well. 

Such is the story, briefly and imperfectly told, of the 
lamentable situation among our industrial people. The 
picture falls far short of an adequate representation of our 
alarming condition. But the testimony of the two wit- 
nesses, England and America, covering the whole page of 
the century, cannot be disregarded. If properly studied 
and honestly applied, the two great examples will trans- 
form the political economy of the world. We respectfully 
commend it to the thoughtful consideration of all who hon- 
estly long for the perpetuity of Republican institutions. 





The elements of character which go to make up the 
highwayman, are: physical courage, disregard of moral 
obligations, aversion to labor, a high estimate of the value 
of money, a low estimate of the value of human life, stolid 
indifference to human suffering, and defiant disregard of 
the law. This type of person takes his life in his hand, 
lives on a war footing with society and looks upon Govern- 
ment simply as an organized police force and as his nat- 
ural enemy. His only restraint is fear, and even this 
enhances his cruelty. Such characters infested human 
society at very early periods, becoming more numerous as 
society itself became lawless and anon diminishing as soon 
as tranquility returned and justice was rigidly administered 
among men. When such characters become numerous and 
confederate in large numbers they are called brigands. 
Italy has had eighteen hundred j^ears of such lawlessness. 
It has become hereditary and comes down to the present 
day bearing its lesson of warning from the demoralized 
condition of society which existed prior to the fall of the 
Roman Empire. 

Doubtless the love of money — avarice — is the supreme, 
all-swaying passion of the highwayman. It is but natural 
that he should be universally feared, detested, and dealt 
with without mercy. Eobin Hood, the famous English 


outlaw and his accomplices, of the thirteenth century; Rob 
Roy, the Scotch robber of the seventeenth century, who, in 
order to avenge the loss of his lands, led the life of a 
marauder for many years; Fra Diavolo, the noted brigand 
of Italy, and Jesse James of our own period, though dif- 
fering greatly in character, are among the noted robbers of 
the world. Some of them occasionally exhibited humane 
traits of character. For example, it is said Robin Hood 
never robbed women nor the poor, but often bestowed 
upon the latter that which he took from the rich. Robin 
was given to traveling in cog. "When he got into trouble a 
single blast from his bugle would summon his faithful sup- 
porters who were always loitering within hearing distance. 
His name and prowess are embalmed in "Ivanhoe" by 
Sir Walter Scott. The lamented and heroic General Gor- 
don, who perished in the massacre of Kartoum, found dis- 
tinct traces of conscience and integrity in Zebehr, the 
blood-thirsty scourge and slave driver of Central Africa. 
Tippu Tib, another human tiger of the same country and 
type, says the slave trade is certainly wrong, but if he were 
to quit the business worse men would take his place. Tra- 
ditions of an occasional noble deed or sentiment may be 
found clinging to the biography of nearly all the great pro- 
fessional robbers of the world. Outraged nature seems to 
have made an effort to hide the nakedness of their crimes. 
The history of piracy, armed robbery upon the seas, 
which are regarded as the common highways of nations, 
also brings to light some strange contradictions in human 
nature. Piracy was an organized industry in some parts 
of the world and ravaged commerce upon the high seas for 
more than two thousand years. It was esteemed an hon- 
orable calling in the days of Homer, at least 700 years B. 
C. The code of Solon regulated piracy which had grown 
to be inveterate amonsr the Phoceans before this wise man 


of Greece became a law giver. Hallam says that in the 
thirteenth and fourteenth centuries of the Christian era, a 
rich vessel was never secure from attack and that neither 
restitution nor punishment could be obtained from the gov- 
ernments. In fact many of the leading commercial spirits 
and navigators of those centuries were openly engaged in 
piratical enterprises. In the history of the United Nether- 
lands, Motley gives a graphic account of piracy at the 
close of the sixteenth century on the English, French and 
Dutch coasts. This scourge did not abate until the feudal 
system was destroyed and respect for human rights 
restored; a striking illustration of that truth, ever upper- 
most in human history, that if a Government expects its 
subjects to be peaceful and law abiding it must first compel 
the wealthy and the powerful to refrain from depredating 
upon the weak and destitute. In no age of the world have 
the rights of either person or property been secure where 
the laws were so framed or administered as to permit idle- 
ness to plunder industry. Men will impatiently submit as 
long as there is hope of redress, but expiring hope always 
lights up her departure with the torch of revolution. 

But marauders like Hood and Fra Diavolo are now rarely 
to be found among civilized nations. Public enlightenment 
and thorough police regulation have about banished the old 
fashioned lawless robber from the land and driven the 
pirate from the seas. The perils of these callings grew to 
be greater than the rewards and so they perished. But 
avarice, that fatal malady of human nature out of which 
these lawless pursuits sprang and which prompted men of 
high social and business qualities to equip whole flotillas 
for such service, has by no means disappeared. The pirates 
have abandoned the sea, it is true, and the race of lawless 
marauders degenerated for the most part into the sneak 
thief and the pick-pocket, yet the decadence of this branch 


of depraved human endeavor has been apparent and super- 
ficial rather than substantial and real. We shall endeavor 
to vividly assemble in this chapter, a group of cognate his- 
torical events which are of the very highest possible im- 
portance to the student of existing human institutions. The 
laws of heredity do not stop with man's physical being. 
They extend to his mental and moral nature as well. More 
still, they pervade the whole framework of society, from the 
structure of Government'to the minute details of business 
life. The philanthropist beholds the mangled and fallen 
condition of human affairs and is often perplexed at the 
perversity of some giant wrong which he finds tormenting 
the world as it holds it within its relentless grasp. He 
comprehends the evil, but its origin is a mystery hidden 
from his view and the tenacity with which its victims cling 
to the scourge, renders the whole situation intensely bewild- 
ering. These perplexities generally spring from a super- 
ficial understanding of the hereditary influences which enter 
into our social and political life. A proper view of the 
disordered condition of modern society can only be obtained 
by moving out upon long lines of investigation. We must 
discover the source of the stream which is poisoning the 
whole valley through which it runs. When the head-waters 
are carefully explored the stream which flows from them 
will cease to be mysterious, and we can then, if at all, guard 
against its death- dealing malaria. Let us endeavor to 
briefly point out the exact period when the modern world 
became inoculated with the virus which is now threatening 
the destruction of free government and even civilization 

About the close of the sixteenth century, piracy, always 
extremely hazardous, became so beset with peril that crews 
could not, except in rare instances, be found who were will- 
ing to stand the hazard of the die. Following the example 


of the Hanseatic League of Germany, all the great nations 
engaged in ocean trade had united in driving these bloody 
rovers from the pathways of commerce. The buccaneer- 
ing carried on by the French and English against the 
Spaniards in America in the latter half of the seventeenth 
century, was an exceptional episode and did not long re- 
main to vex the commerce of the world. But when piracy 
received its fatal blow at the close of the sixteenth century, 
it was immediately succeeded at the opening of the seven- 
teenth by a still greater scourge, the corporation — a pir- 
ate in fact. Piracy and brigandage were lawless, but the 
corporation sprang into existence bearing a commission 
from the State, its creator, which authorized it to rob legally 
both by sea and by land. Incorporated trade societies in 
Britain owe their origin to royal charters and Acts of Parlia- 
ment, but they tormented Rome long before the fall of the 
Empire. The first great corporation for pecuniary profit — 
the parent trade monoply of modern history, was 


chartered by Queen Elizabeth at the close of the sixteenth 
century. (1600. ) Its accursed progeny have scourged 
the world for three centuries. The offspring of this mon- 
strous progenitor extend to all climes and control to-day 
the machinery of every civilized nation on earth. 

For a considerable period prior to the opening of the 
seventeenth century, the Dutch, greatly to the discomfiture 
of London commercial interests, had almost the exclusive 
control of the East India trade. Finally in the year 1599, 
they advanced the price of pepper to about double the 
previous rating for that article. The merchants of London 
held a meeting at Founders Hall on September 22, with the 
Lord Mayor in the chair. This meeting resolved to form 
an association for trading directly with India. The leading 


spirits of this enterprise doubtless carefully matured their 
plans after close consultation with Elizabeth and her min- 
isters. This appears from the fact that an envoy was at 
once dispatched to apply to the Great Mughal for privi- 
leges for the English company. The objects had in view 
were doubtless territorial and commercial conquest, as the 
subsequent history of this enterprise abundantly proves. 
History also establishes the melancholy fact that neither 
the Crown nor the incorporators were particular as to the 
means to be made use of to accomplish these ends. On 
the 31st of December, 1600, the company was incorpo- 
rated by the Queen's royal charter under the title of "The 
Governor and Company of Merchants of London trading 
to the East Indies." There were one hundred and twenty- 
five share-holders with a capital of £70,000. Twelve years 
later on the capital was increased to £100,000. For thirty- 
five years, this powerful corporation, enjoying the royal 
favor and backed by the royal navy, had undisputed con- 
trol, free of all interference by English rivals. Finally the 
"Assada Merchants," an independent company doing busi- 
ness in Madagascar and which had grown to be powerful, 
began to give them trouble. After a protracted struggle 
the Madagascar enterprise pooled its interests with the 
East India Company. In 1655, Cromwell chartered the 
"Company of Merchant Adventurers" to trade with India, 
but it united with the original company two years later. 
Cromwell, who was a great hater of monopolies, was 
endeavoring to restore competition and thus protect the 
people of the Commonwealth from the extortion of the old 
Elizabethan octopus. But the leading spirits in the new 
enterprise simply wanted to be admitted to the ground 
floor in the old company and secured their charter solely 
for that purpose. After the absorption of this rival com- 
pany no competition of consequence was encountered for 


a period of forty-one years. This long lapse of the unob- 
structed exercise of the great privileges of the company led 
to the accumulation of immense wealth for the stockholders. 
Near the close of this period of repose there arose in Brit- 
ish public life a very brilliant and versatile character by 
the name of Charles Montague. He entered Parliament 
from Maiden, was possessed of brill/ant oratory, extraordi- 
nary logical powers and great financial ability. He 
rapidly rose to eminence, became ODe of the Commis- 
sioners of the Treasury, was called to the Privy Council, 
made Chancellor of the Exchequer under William and 
Maty, and finally entered the House of Lords with the 
title of Lord Halifax. 

Through the influence of Montague while a member of 
the Commons 1698, Parliament incorporated a new com- 
pany to be known as the ' 'General Society Trading to the 
East Indias," with a capital of two millions sterling. It 
seems from contemporaneous history that the new charter 
was secured by a majority of ten votes on account of the 
absence of so many of the friends of the old company to 
witness a fight between a tiger and a kennel of dogs. But 
the two companies soon amalgamated through the interces- 
sion of Godolphin, First Lord of the Treasury. At the 
same time the amalgamated company advanced a loan to 
the royal treasury £3,190,000 at three per cent, in consider- 
ation of the exclusive privilege to trade to all places be- 
tween the Cape of Good Hope and the Straits of Magellan. 
Montague was triumphant and the amalgamation of his new 
company with the old, destroyed the last great rival to the 
famous East India Company. We shall now lose sight of 
Montague for a little while, but he will appear again in a 
new role further along in this chapter. 

From 1600 to 1612 the company made twelve voyages. 
With the exception of the fourth, they were immensely 


profitable — rarely ever falling below 100 per cent. The 
price of pepper was lost sight of and the people of India 
and of England were in turn equally despoiled. 

The history of this company is one of unparalleled cru- 
elty, pillage and conquest. It equipped fleets, patrolled 
the seas with the British navy, made war, conquered prov- 
inces, subdued islands and finally established firmly the 
dominion of Great Britain over the helpless people and 
territor}^ of India. To protect the properties and privileges 
of the East India Company Britain has waged war by land 
and by sea and shed the blood and spent the treasure of 
her people. Finally, in 1689, the company concluded to 
consolidate their position on the basis of territorial sover- 
eignty, in order to acquire the status of an independent 
power as against the native authorities in East India. This 
was a cruel master stroke. It already enjoyed the protec- 
tion and sanction of the home government. This new 
move gave them the protection of another at the extreme 
limits of their voyages in the far off East. The commerce 
of the world was now at their feet. The cupidity of all 
the surrounding nations was wrought up to the highest 
pitch. France, Denmark, Austria, Sweden, each chartered 
companies to trade to the East Indias. Enterprising and 
unscrupulous men throughout the United Kingdom busied 
themselves in concocting schemes similar in character, 
great and small. Both sea and land were ransacked to find 
foothold for corporate adventure. A number of private 
traders, not being able to secure an interest in the East In- 
dia Company, fitted out expeditions of their own. James 
I. licensed Sir Edward Michelborne to trade with China, 
Japan and Corea. He openly plundered the Indian archi- 
pellago and carried home with him heavy booty which he 
secured by the boldest piratical methods. The rage for 
organizing corporations — joint stock companies as they 


were generally called — became epidemic and spread far 
and wide. They extended to the trading in wine, coal, 
salt, starch, dressed meat*, beavers, belting, bonelace, 
leather, pins and indeed to nearly all of the necessaries 
of life. In a speech in the long Parliament, Sir John Cul- 
pepper said of them: u They are a nest of wasps — a swarm 
of vermin which have overcrept the land. Like the frogs 
of Egypt, they have gotten possession of our dwellings, 
and we have scarce a room free from them. They sup at 
our cup; they dip in our dish; they sit by our fire. We 
find them in the dye-fat, washbowl and powder tub. They 
share with the butler in his box. They will not bait us a 
pin. We may not buy our clothes without their brokage. 
These are leeches that have sucked the Commonwealth so 
hard that it is almost hectical." Patterson's Isthmus of 
Darien hazard, organized in Scotland, was an outgrowth of 
the general fever and thirst for monopoly at this time. 
John Law's Mississippi scheme chartered in the early part 
of the seventeenth century by the Duke of Orleans, then 
Regent of France, and which granted to Law the control of 
commerce and the sovereign power over a great part of 
North America, was fashioned after the East India model. 
A widespread hallucination for corporate adventure and 
monopolistic plunder pervaded all Europe at this period. 
The imagination and avarice of all who were speculatively 
inclined were fed by the booty brought home by the annual 
voyages of the East India Compaiw, and this feeling was 
inflamed by the connivance and patronage of the Crown. 
In 1719, a Statute was enacted called the "Bubble Act," to 
suppress all unincorporated companies. The corporation 
had become all in all. This Statute was repealed in 1826. 
In the year 1670, Charles II. granted a charter to Princo 
Rupert, and seventeen other noblemen and gentlemen, 
incorporating them as the "Governor and Company of 


Adventurers of England Trading into Hudson's Bay. v 
This was the beginning of the celebrated enterprise known 
as the 


The charter secured to them "the sole trade, and com- 
merce of all those seas, straits, bays, rivers, lakes, creeks, 
and sounds in whatever latitude they shall be, that lie 
within the entrance of the straits commonly called Hud- 
son's Straits, together with all the lands and territories 
upon the country's coasts and confines of the seas, baj^s, 
etc., aforesaid." They were also given complete lordship 
of the entire legislative, executive and judicial power 
within these vague limits, and they were also granted the 
right to control the entire commerce to and from this vast 
area. The company constructed forts, founded colonies 
and organized local governments. France sent rival trad- 
ers into the same territory. After a long struggle the two 
sets of adventurers amalgamated, following the example of 
the rival East India Companies. This company amassed 
immense fortunes, incited Indian wars, murdered the In- 
dians and corrupted them with intoxicating liquors. The 
company is still in existence and wields immense power 
within the British possessions just North of us. Its tri- 
umphs stretching through mor6 than two hundred years 
strikingly illustrate the astonishing vitality of corporations 
and the vast advantage which they possess over ordinary 
mortals in all classes of transactions. The career of these 
two great companies — the East India and the Hudson's 
Bay Companies — portray by deep lines of cruel etching 
the diabolic character and capabilities of the modern cor- 
poration, — of that type and class of artificial beings cre- 
ated by the State and endowed with greed unrestrained by 
the feelings of pity. They seem to gather in all the bad 


elements in fallen human nature and to utterly exclude 
every redeeming emotion of the soul. The brigand and 
the pirate are human and pass from the cradle to manhood 
through the evolutions of Child life. Traces of the Divine 
and of a mother's influence remain with them to the last. 
But the corporation has no mother. It springs into being 
without heart, without emotion, with a full set of teeth, 
panting with the passion for plunder and directed by mature 
judgment from the hour of its creation to the end of its 
self-appointed career. How can flesh and blood cope with 
such an antagonist? The East India Company was brought 
into being, granted lawful immortality by the rescript of 
Queen Elizabeth who died three years thereafter. She was 
succeeded by James I., son of Mary Stuart whom Elizabeth 
had cruelly beheaded. Succeeding James came Charles L, 
who in turn lost his head, as his grandmother Mary had be- 
fore him. And so through all the ensuing centuries fraught 
with war and carnage — through the rise and fall of dynas- 
ties, kingdoms, powers and potentates, this company lived 
on, waxed powerful, rose serene above death and the decay 
of empires, and finally laid its powerful and polluted hand 
upon the nations and people whom it had plundered and 
crushed them with its grasp of iron. 

The next great step towards the enslavement and degra- 
dation of modern civilization through the agency of cor- 
porations, was taken in the year 1694, when Charles Mon- 
tague, whose name has already been mentioned in this 
chapter, after consultation with King William and his min- 
isters, introduced the bill to incorporate 


This bill became a law in the month of May, 1694. The 
following July, the charter was issued to the society styled 
"The Governor and Company of the Bank of England." 


It was granted in consideration of a loan £1,200,000 to the 
Government. The charter was to expire at the end of 
eleven years upon the pa}^ment of the loan with accrued 
interest. The Government agreed to pay eight per cent, 
interest on the loan and £4,000 per annum as the expense 
of management — in all £100,000 per year. This loan has 
never been paid. The charter has been eleven times re- 
newed, each in consideration of a fresh loan to the royal 
treasury, and in fact the corporation may be regarded as 
existing in perpetuity. It has grown to be a part, and in- 
deed a very important part of the Government itself. In 
truth, if the bank were destn^ed the Government would 
have to be reconstructed. It has grown to be the most 
powerful moneyed institution on the globe. It has shaped 
the financial institutions of all modern civilized nations and 
dictates the fiscal policy of Christendom. By their decrees 
in "general court," the Governor and directors of this insti- 
tution can lay toll upon every nation on earth which is with- 
out an independent system of domestic finance. The rav- 
ages of piracy in its palmiest days were mere passing 
trifles — harmless eruptions upon the surface of national life 
— compared with the scourge of general spoliation, bank- 
ruptcy and business death which this Goliath among fiscal 
institutions can inflict and repeatedly has inflicted upon the 
commerce of the world. When the financial institutions 
of neighboring nations are in harmony with the British 
system, the Bank of England might be considered the 
heart. If its pulsations are regular and normal life and 
activity exist everywhere. But if the heart stand still, par- 
alysis and death are liable to ensue to the utmost extremi- 
ties of business life. This bank controls the life blood of 
civilization, and by its decrees it can speed the vital fluid 
to the farthest extremities of trade. It can look on the 
scene until the vivification which it has caused has filled the 


earth with gladness and then, at the whim of its directors, 
it can change its discounts and ordain business confusion, 
and even bankruptcy, from the rivers to the ends of the 
earth. When men of energy and industry throughout the 
kingdom fashion new enterprises and, prometheus like, 
call for fire to warm and to give them life, this modern 
Jupiter can scourge them with evils and decree that the 
world shall be bound in punishment and the vultures be 
permitted to gnaw unrestrained at its vitals. This bank 
was the complement of the East India and Hudson's Bay 
Companies, and much of its original capital came from the 
increment of those enterprises. It reinforced both of these 
adventures and furnished them with the facilities for con- 
quest and the sinews of war. The reader will observe the 
suggestive similiarity in the denomination of the three com- 
panies: "The Governor and Company," etc., being used 
in each instance. 

Montague had charge of the bill to incorporate this bank 
while it was pending in Parliament, but the real authorship 
of the measure is due to one William Patterson, an adven- 
turous but talented Scotchman, in whom were blended 
some strange contradictions of character. This man fled 
from Scotland on atcount of religious persecutions when 
but seventeen }-ears of age. He passed through England 
on foot with a peddlar's pack, located at Bristol for a short 
period and then sailed for America. His sojourn was 
mostly spent however, in the Bahamas, where his occupa- 
tion alternated between imparting spiritual advice to Brit- 
ish settlers and buccaneering — between preaching and 
piracy. Patterson was the author of the Montague Bill. 
Upon the incorporation of the bank he became one of its 
original directors for a short time, while Montague was 
made First Lord of the Treasury. Patterson held his posi- 
tion but a single year. Montague was superceded after a 


brief period, was accused of peculation in small exchequer 
bills, was twice impeached and in each instance acquitted, 
probably through the influence of accomplices in high 
places. The name of Charles Montague will be forever 
associated with three of the great commercial and political 
factors of modern times — the East India Company, which 
has spawned its voracious progeny over all Christendom; the 
Bank of England, which was its off-shoot and complement, 
and the British national debt upon which the bank is 
founded and which now exists in perpetuity to curse 
mankind. The bank and the debt were contemporaneous 
in origin; and the Sovereign power of the Kingdom of 
Great Britain to issue its own money and to control the 
volume thereof, was parted with in consideration of the 
trifling loan heretofore mentioned. The bank attends to 
all the fiscal business of the Government. Says Adam 
Smith: " She acts not only as an ordinary bank, but as a 
great engine of state. She receives and pays the greater 
part of the annuities which are due to the creditors of the 
public, she circulates exchequer bills, and she advances to 
the Government the annual amount of the land and malt 
taxes, which are frequently not paid till some years there- 

The bankers are largely represented on both sides of 
the House of Commons, just as they are on both sides of 
the House of Representatives in this country. Each guards 
the welfare of the bank as he would the apple of his eye. 

For a period of one hundred and eighteen years, from 
1708 to 1826, this institution enjoyed a complete monopoly. 
The act of 170S provided that it should not be lawful for 
any body politic, erected or to be erected, other than the 
said " Governor and Company of the Bank of England, 
or of any other persons whatsoever, united or to be united 
in covenants of partnership, exceeding the number of six 


persons, in that part of Great Britain called England, to 
borrow, owe, or take up any sum or sums of money on their 
bills or notes payable on demand or in any less time 
than six months from the borrowing thereof." Finally 
Parliament, in 1826, permitted country banks of issue to 
be established anywhere beyond sixty-five miles of Lon- 
don, but the issuing of notes of less than live pounds in 
England and Wales was at the same time prohibited. 
Attempt was made to extend this restriction to Scotland 
and Ireland, but Sir Walter Scott, and his coadjutors, 
aroused sufficient public sentiment to defeat it. The power 
of the great bank renders the country banks merely tribu- 
tary to its own business. Still, greater privileges for coun- 
try banking were granted by the act of 1858 and later 
acts; but the overshadowing influence of the Bank of Eng- 
land still abides and waxes stronger from year to year. 
The capital of the bank amounts to £14,553,000. By the 
act of 1844, it is authorized to issue not to exceed £15,- 
000,000 in notes in the denomination of five pounds and 
upwards. Since the renewal of the charter in 1833, the 
notes of the bank have been a legal tender. They are 
redeemable in gold on demand, and notes in excess of 
£15,000,000 cannot be issued except in exchange for their 
face vlaue in gold coin or bullion deposited with the bank. 
This makes the British people the slaves of chance and the 
servants of the owners of bullion and so restricts the circu- 
lating medium as to remove general prosperity among the 
laboring millions beyond the limits of hope. 

The volume of currency is entirely dependent upon the 
influx and efflux of bullion. When coin becomes scarce 
common sense would dictate that some substitute should be 
issued to take its place. But the practice is just the reverse. 
When the coin takes its flight the paper must be retired 
also This makes the very few masters of the empire and 


they stand with their feet upon the neck of prostrate labor 
unmoved by the feelings of pity or remorse. Since the 
bank was attacked by a mob during the riots of June, 1780, 
a considerable military force has occupied the bank every 
night in order to guard against any emergency which ma}' 

There are a number of branches of the bank in various 
parts of the kingdom. Neither the parent nor the branch 
banks pay interest on deposits. For a period of more than 
eighty years the dividends on the bank stock have but once 
or twice fallen below eight per cent and will average about 
that figure; and this is a country where money is only 
worth three per cent and where the average increase in the 
wealth is doubtless below that figure. The stock of the 
bank and all profits arising from its transactions are "ex- 
empt from any rates, taxes, assessments, or imposition 

The Bank of Scotland organized and chartered by 
authority of the Scotch Parliament in 1695, was modeled 
after the Bank of England. Its career has been much 
more restricted but vastly more humane than that of its 
English neighbor. 

"We have thus noted somewhat in detail the rise and 
growth of the three gigantic corporations of Great Britain, 
The East India Company, The Hudson's Bay Company 
and the Bank of England, and have noted cursorily the 
swarm of smaller corporate parasites which immediately 
sprang from them and have been voraciously feeding upon 
the life of British industry since the close of the sixteenth 
century. The whole brood rose upon the ruins of piracy 
and the rapacious spirit has been transmitted to the entire 
progeny and has ever been uppermost from the beginning 
until now. The pirate and the brigand carried no creden- 
tials except their blood-stained weapons and quailed only 


before superior force. The corporation plunders under the 
authority of a charter and the protection of the State. It 
occupies the whole field formerly held by the brigand and 
the pirate, is their lineal descendant and unites within itself 
the characteristics of both ancestors. In our chapters on 
war and peace finances we shall show the extraordinary 
growth of corporate power and influence under Sir Robert 
Peel's Act of 1819 to resume specie payments in 1823. We 
now invite the reader to an examination of the growth of 


The f ramers of our Constitution and those who influenced 
early legislation in this county, had been educated under 
the influence of British institutions. They had long been 
familiar with the accepted dogma that the power to create 
corporations was a prerogative of the crown. The transi- 
tion was easy to that cognate fiction, that the power to cre- 
ate incorporated trade associations was a prerogative 
inherent in Government, without a regard to whether it was 
a monarchy or a republic. An error more fatal and unac- 
countable never enslaved the minds of a free people. It is 
as unphilosophic as it is vicious in consequences. 

An incorporated trade association does not result from 
the operation of any law of nature nor from the exercise 
of any of the natural powers belonging to humanity. No 
number of men, in the absence of statutory authority, can 
confer upon themselves the powers and immunities of a 
corporation. They may associate in business as partners, 
but the death of one of the members, in the natural order 
of things, works a dissolution of the association. Each 
member of the firm is personally responsible, where com- 
pany property cannot be found, for all the debts of the co- 
partnership. If then it be true that a corporation does not 
spring from any law of nature and cannot, in the absence 


of statute, be brought into being by agreement among in- 
dividuals, whence is the boasted prerogative of the Crown 
or of the legislature to create a corporation derived ? How 
can man confer upon the legislature a power, not even the 
germ of which exists within himself ? By nature he has 
the right to trade, to associate and to organize Civil govern- 
ment; but he can never, in business affairs, span the chasm 
of death, escape individual responsibility, nor confer upon 
the legislature a power which he does not himself possess. 
The corporation then, exists beyond the domain of nature, 
is in conflict with the limitations of human life, and is a 
remnant of usurpation and kingcraft which lingers in 
modern society to make war upon the individual and to eat 
up his substance. It exists by bold, daring usurpation and 
not of right. 

The Government of the United States is one of enumerated 
powers. The Constitution does not even vaguely hint at 
the power of Congress to incorporate a trade association, 
or to grant a charter for such purpose. Driven from the 
field of expressed power, how can the authority of Congress 
be implied, when the individuals from whom the Govern- 
ment was derived have no such power to surrender and 
make no pretense even of doing so ? The Declaration of 
Independence declares that governments derive their "just 
powers" from the consent of the governed. No other 
power could, of course, be so derived. But Congress, fol- 
lowing the example of the British crown, entered upon the 
exercise of this usurpation at its first session under the Con- 
stitution. This shows how deeply the despotic current had 
eroded its way into every stratum of Anglo-Saxon life. It 
proves that even the grand men of the Revolution were not 
on their guard against some of the most dangerous foes of 
Free Government. They threw off the form of tyranny, de- 
clared for a republic and then allowed institutions which 


were of the very essence of despotism and which gave life 
and vigor to tyranny to remain. They declared "that all 
men were created equal" and. strange to say, proceeded at 
the very first session of Congress to pass laws to create 
inequalities and to give certain associations of individuals 
advantages with which they were never, either collectively 
or individually, endowed by the Creator. Such are some 
of the contradictions of even enlightened statesmanship. 
The bill for the incorporation of 


was passed February 25, 1791, by the first Congress which 
assembled under the Constitution. The charter provided 
that it should run for twenty years, during which period no 
other bank should be chartered by Congress. The scheme 
originated with Alexander Hamilton, then Secretary of the 
Treasury, and was copied from the Act of Parliament 
incorporating the Bank of England which had been in 
operation for nearly one hundred years. The capital of 
this bank was $10, 000, 000. The Government held one-fifth 
of the stock and elected five of the directors. The English 
model was copied in all essential particulars, even to the 
power conferred to establish branch banks, wherever in 
the judgment of the president and directors of the bank, 
such branches might be deemed necessary. The charter 
expired in 1811, during Mr. Madison's administration. The 
original charter had been opposed by Mr- Jefferson and 
its renewal was also opposed hy him and the party in 
power. Another charter for twenty years was, however, 
secured in 1818, during Mr. Madison's second term. It 
was granted upon the payment of $1,500,000 to the Govern- 
ment as a bonus. A capital of $35,000,000 was permitted 
by this charter. This bank had a turbulent career under 
its two charters which covered a period of forty years. It 


was finally overthrown by President Jackson's veto during 
his first term and expired in 1S36, during his second term, 
by limitation of charter. The veto of the bill to re-char*ier 
the bank was the most absorbing issue in the campaign of 
1832, and resulted in a signal victory for the anti-bank men 
and in the triumphant re-election of General Jackson to the 
Presidenc3 T . Thomas H. Benton remarked to a friend after 
Jackson had been vindicated in the campaign of 1832, that 
"Jackson had not slain the United States Bank, The bank 
was a wounded tigress. She had fled to the jungles but 
would return again bringing her whelps with her. " 

It is gratifying to know that all attempts to establish this 
bank met with the unconquerable opposition of both Jeffer- 
son and Jackson. 

The question of the constitutionality of the act to charter 
the bank came before the Supreme Court of the United 
States from the State of Maryland and was decided in 
1819. McCullochv. The State of Maryland, 4th Wheaton, 
316. The President and Directors of the parent bank at 
Philadelphia, had, in pursuance of the charter, established 
a branch bank of issue, discount and deposit in the city of 
Baltimore. An act of the Legislature of Maryland, 
approved February 11, 1818, imposed a tax "on all banks 
or branches thereof, in the State of Maryland, not char- 
tered by the Legislature." The act required the bank to 
issue notes of certain denominations, and only upon 
stamped paper to be prepared and furnished by the State. 
The tax imposed by the law was to be paid by the pur- 
chase and use of this stamped paper. McCalloch, who 
was the cashier of the branch bank, refused to comply 
with the Maryland statute, claiming that the act was repug- 
nant to the Constitution and in conflict with the act of Con- 
gress chartering the bank. 


The State of Mar}dand, by its counsel assumed the 
absurd position that the power to create a corporation is 
one pertaining to Sovereignty and was not conferred upon 
Congress but remained with the States. That the Govern- 
ment of the United States is one of enumerated and lim- 
ited powers which were delegated by the states which alone 
are truly sovereign. Of course, nothing but defeat could 
await the State upon such an unskillful and ill-advised issue 
as this. The contention was as to where the power was 
lodged and not as to its existence. Hence the vital and 
all controlling question was not presented at all. 

If counsel had taken the position that the power to 
create a corporation existed neither in the Constitution nor 
in the nature of Sovereignty; that all things which are 
within the scope of human authority could be accomplished 
by agreement; but that all the people in the State com- 
bined could not by agreement create a corporation, and 
that this being so, they could not by implication empower 
the legislature to create it; that it existed only by bold and 
unmixed usurpation and was in deadly conflict with Repub- 
lican institutions, their position would have been unassail- 
able. They could have urged with irresistable logic the doc- 
trine that Government derives its just powers, both enumer- 
ated and implied, from the consent of the governed; that 
the limitations of human authority had interposed to pre- 
vent the people from delegating to the Government an 
express power which they did not themselves possess and 
that no power could possibly be implied for that reason. 
Had they planted themselves squarely upon this ground, 
no Court could have disregarded the argument. It were 
impossible that an enlightened judiciary should go beyond 
the limitations of human nature in search for implied 
authority to bolster up an act of questionable legislation. 
The opinion in this case was pronounced by Chief Justice 


Marshall at the February term 1819, the same term at 
which he promulgated the opinion in the celebrated Dart- 
mouth College case referred to in our chapter on the 
Supreme Court. In the Dartmouth College case the doc- 
trine of the immutability of charters and of vested rights 
arising unddr them was established; while in the McCul- 
loch case the power of Congress to grant charters and 
create corporations, as against any power remaining within 
the states, was upheld. The year 1819 constitutes an 
epoch in the history of this country. 

Strangely enough the opinion in the McCulloch case has 
been acquiesced in as establishing the doctrine that Congress 
has constitutional authority to grant charters and create 
corporations for pecuniary profit. It simply decided that 
the States were not supreme and sovereign as against the 
General government, or rather that the General govern- 
ment is supreme within its sphere as against the States. 

Since the rendition of this decision Congress has passed 
a great variety of incorporation laws; for example, the 
National Banking Acts, the Acts Incorporating the Pacific 
Railroads, the Act Incorporating Savings Banks in the Dis- 
trict of Columbia, the Act to Incorporate the Nicaraugua 
Canal Company, and many others. But the influence of 
these two great decisions was far reaching and prodigious. 
The power to create corporations being firmly established, 
as it was supposed, the great commercial advantages to be 
derived through their instrumentality gradually allured 
enterprising men to form incorporated trade associations in 
various parts of the country. Finally the various State Leg- 
islatures, municipalities and State Constitutional conven- 
tions plunged headlong into the roaring flood. Soon the 
whole country was submerged and swept beneath the 
resistless current. For a full quarter of a century the indi- 
vidual, as such, has been lost sight of in a mad rush for 


corporate adventure. The corporation and the wealth 
which it brings have become the chief concern of society 
and the State. The man and the family have been driven 
to the wall, the weak trampled under foot and the choicest 
opportunities of the century showered upon chartered com- 
binations. Wealth, already possessing great advantages, 
is not satisfied, and incorporates in order that it may have 
still greater power. Every class of business, every 
calling, everything except poverty, operates under a char- 
ter. The poor must defend themselves as best they can, 
single-handed and alone. Competition and personal re- 
sponsibility, except with the remaining multitude of the 
poor, are literally and absolutely annihilated by these 
monstrous combinations. They exist in every State in the 
Union, by thousands. They control the business of every 
city, thrust their paid lobbjdsts within the corridors and 
onto the floor of every legislative assembly, and importune 
every city council for exemptions, concession and privilege. 

The picture which opens to our view as we lift the curtain 
upon the scene of corporate lapacity, is so vast and so ter. 
rible as to cause us to shrink back aghast. One scarcely 
knows where to begin the story, and having once begun, it 
seems like mis-prison of a felony to withhold a single fact 
from an outraged public. But the field is illimitable and 
the desolation indescribable. We can only pause in the 
presence of the picture for a few moments — barely long 
enough to call the attention of the reader to the outlines of 
the situation. 

We have already, in our chapter on Kome and the United 
States, spoken of the Anthracite Coal Association con- 
trolled by the great railroad and mine owners of Pennsyl- 
vania. We wish here to point out some of its acts of 
spoliation and piracy. 


The annual consumption of anthracite is now not far 
from 35,000,000 tons, of which the West consumes about 
8,000,000 tons. In July, 1883, the combination put the 
miners upon half work for three months in order to limit 
the production and increase the price. This is their settled 
method of business and is repeated from year to year. In 
1871, the legislature of Pennsylvania entered upon an in- 
vestigation of the combine. The testimony showed that a 
number of private companies desired to terminate a strike 
then pending among the miners in the locality, by accept- 
ing the terms of the working men. But the six great com- 
panies, controlling all the railroads leading to and from the 
field of this industry, immediately increased their rates to 
three times the previous figures and thus made it impossible 
for the small companies to operate their mines. The price 
of coal immediately advanced to $12.00 per ton. The 
small owners were bankrupted while the miners and their 
families were turned out to starve and to die. 

The New York legislature investigated the same combi- 
nation in 1878. The investigation was caused by the sudden 
rise in the price of coal to double what it had formerly 
brought. The legislature found that a number of private 
mine owners were willing to supply the market at prices 
much below those asked by the combine and ''would do sc 
if they could get transportation from the mines to the mar- 
ket." This was denied them by the six great companies. 
The committee found that "the combination can limit the 
supply and thereby create such demand and prices as they 
may deem advisable." They also found that the companies 
had advanced the price of coal seventy-five cents and one 
dollar per ton. An advance of only fifty cents per ton, 
would, on 35,000,000 tons, amount to $17,500,000 in a sin. 
gle year! Can the annals of piracy on all the seas, for any 
period of ten years in its history, equal the rapacity of this 


single transaction? This crime is repeated from year to 
year, while 64,000.000 people stand helpless and aghast 
at the audacious spectacle! 

In this manner the vast fortunes of the six companies 
and their share-holders have been accumulated. Their 
wealth is the result of the murder of hard working men, 
the starvation of innocent and helpless women and children 
and the open and periodic plunder of the inhabitants of a 

The Congressional investigation in 1887-8, concerning 
the strike at the Redding Collieries, found that the Oper- 
ators intentionally provoked the miners to violence in order 
to give opportunity to shoot the "rioters." 

Take the report of the Ohio Legislative Committee con- 
cerning the horrors of the Hocking Valley strike in 1885, 
the assassinations by the Pinkertons, and the heart-rending 
appeals of women and children for mercy, shelter and 
bread. Look again at the gaunt starvation at Braidwood. A 
whole city full of industrious people groaned in the agonies 
of want — babes dying of hunger in their mothers' arms, 
and mothers and offspring perishing together on pallets of 
straw without food and without mercy. Let the reader 
take a glance at the horrors of Punxsatawney, of the 
suffering at Brazil, Ind., and at the starvation, carnage and 
heartless evictions taking place as we write in the Coke 
regions of Pennsylvania — each and every instance being 
the result of corporate rapachty, and then tell us candidly 
what he thinks of the relative cruelty of the two systems 
of piracy — the old-fashioned sea-roving, with its black 
flags and bloody decks, and the modern amphibious 
method resulting from the union of the pirate and the 
brigand, represented by the corporation with its organized 
systems of pillage, reinforced by the agency of hunger 
and the Pinkerton thugs. 


Take one other instance from among the coal fields, 
Spring Valley, Illinois. This mining town was started 
in 1885, under the auspices of three gigantic corporations 
and a newly incorporated town site company, composed of 
the principal men in the three corporations, namely: the 
Chicago & North-western Railroad, the Spring Valley 
Coal Company, the Spring Valley Town Site Company 
and the Northwest Fuel Company, of St. Paul. It is 
estimated that the capitalists associated in these enterprises 
represent at least $500,000,000. Great inducements had 
been held out to the people and particularly to miners, to 
locate in the town and invest their small savings in 
homes and town property. Hundreds, and even thousands 
of men rushed to the new field from Streator, La Salle, 
Braidwood, Peru, and in fact from almost every mining 
locality in the Northwest, and went to work. The results 
were not as fortunate as had been anticipated, but upon 
the whole were re-assuring and promised well for the 
future. The mining population soon became large and 
the community was prospering and being rapidly built up. 
In December, 1888, without a word of warning, with no 
differences of opinion or known conflict of interest existing 
between the mine owners and the men, seven hundred 
miners were suddenly told to take away their tools at the 
close of the day and not return, as that part of the mine 
was to be closed. No explanation whatever was given. 
And this in the face of winter! But a considerable force 
of men in other parts of the mine were allowed to remain 
and they aided, as best they could, their unfortunate 
brethren and their families. 

In April following, the balance of the force was dis- 
missed in the same unceremonious manner. Previous to 
this lock-out on the part of these millionaires, they had 
been paying out monthly to the miners of this district 


about $250,000, and the miners had been investing their 
small savings in the purchase of homes under the promise 
of steady employment. The committee appointed by the 
Governor to investigate the facts in this dreadful case, re- 
ported in September, that the loss to the miners in conse- 
quence of the lock-out amounted at trhat time to 6800,000. 
Every effort was made by the outside world to relieve the 
distress, but the corporations were relentless. Sickness and 
death ensued. The committee already named, say in their 
report: "There have been no actual cases of starvation as 
the miners freely divide with each other. 
There has been suffering in sickness for want of medicines 
and proper medical attendance. * They 

do not parade their suffering; they conceal it rather, espec- 
ially from their employers, knowing that the operators rely 
upon this suffering to bring them sooner or later to terms." 
On August 11, 1889, a car load of provisions was sent 
down from the good people of Peoria. A press account of 
its arrival stated that u One thousand men and women 
tramped down from Spring Valley to the Rock Island de- 
pot at midnight, and waited for hours for the arrival of the 
car. The - crowd went wild with delight when the car ar- 
rived. The Spring Valley Sentinel, of August 31, declared 
"That the wives and children of miners were dying of star- 
vation right in the garden of the world." A correspondent 
of the New York World, sent to the locality especially to 
investigate the situation at Spring Valley, reported that 
"From a cursory examination, it is a low estimate to say 
that seven out of every ten families are sick — seriously so. 
Malarial fevers, diphtheria, cholera-morbus, agutfand pneu- 
monia form the bulk of the ailments. * * * 
Scores of men, women and children have found a last rest- 
ing place in the cemetery since the lock-out." This account 
further says that 1,200 heads of families had been out of 


emplo} inent from May to August, and that half of these 
families had been without food, except that which had been 
given them by charity. But why pursue further the sick- 
ening story? Henry D. Lloyd, in his work entitled "A 
Strike of Millionaires Against the Miners," has portrayed 
the infamy in all of its tragic details. This book is the Iliad 
of the battle now raging between man and the corporation 
in America. Works of far less merit have convulsed em- 
pires and revolutionized society. It is an alarm bell at 
midnight to startle those who slumber and should be read 
by the million. 

Let us now investigate another vast field, every square 
mile of which is tormented and trodden down by this ever 
present and exasperating scourge. 


In pursuing this branch of the subject the reader will 
catch a glimpse of stupendous scale upon which our mod- 
ern buccaneers loot the people and carry on with impunity 
their predaceous calling. As we advance from one field of 
rapacity to another and are made acquainted with the fact 
that the whole continent is literally ravaged by these vi- 
kings; that no community, however remote, no calling how 
ever humble, is free from their havoc, we trust the reader 
may vividly realize the extreme peril to our civilization and 
will listen with becoming gravity to appeals for immediate 

As is well known to all farmers and stock-raisers, there 
has been a depressed condition of the cattle industry in all 
parts of the country for many years. The decline in 
prices between 1884 and 1889 was so marked as to spread 
consternation and bankruptcy throughout this important 
vocation. The shrinkage during the period named fell but 
little short of two cents per pound on all grades of beei 


cattle. Ruin and poverty followed. The cause of the 
decline was well understood and the indignation felt within 
industrial circles found expression in various ways, partic- 
ularly in pointed and well directed resolutions adopted by 
the Alliance and other organizations among farmers. 
It became evident that certain localities and business cen- 
ters were being discriminated against, and this aroused 
another class of influential people. Investigation was de- 
manded. Finally, on the 16th day of May, 1888, the Sen- 
ate of the United States, by resolution, directed the presi- 
dent of the Senate to appoint a select committee of five on 
the Transportation and Sale of Meat Products. 

The resolution, among other things, directed the com- 
mittee to inquire "whether there exists or has existed any 
combination of any kind, either on the part of the trunk 
line association, or the Central Traffic Association, or other 
agencies of transportation, or on the part of those engaged 
in buying and shipping beef products, by reason of which 
the prices of beef and beef cattle have been so controlled or 
affected as to diminish the price paid the producer without 
lessening the cost of meat to the consumer." 

The committee, consisting of Hon. G. G. "Vest, of Mis. 
souri, chairman; Hon. P. B. Plumb, of Kansas, Hon. S. 
M. Cullom, of Illinois, Hon. C. F. Manderson, of Neb. 
raska, and Hon. Richard Coke, of Texas, commenced 
their work at St. Louis, November 20, 1888. They visited 
various shipping and business centers throughout the 
country, took testimony extensively, and afforded oppor- 
tunity for the various interests to be heard through agents, 
attorneys and otherwise. The committee made its report 
to the Senate through Mr. Yest, May 1, 1890, which was 
printed, and is known as Senate Report No. 829, Fifty-first 
Congress. It is a startling document in all its details. 


The committee found that " the method of selling beef 
cattle had been entirely revolutionized in the past ten years. 
In place of the old system when shippers and butchers 
went from one cattle-raiser to another, competing in the 
purchase of cattle, there is now a concentration in the 
market at a few points, Chicago, Kansas City, Omaha, St. 
Louis, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, with the controlling mar- 
ket at the first named city. The cattle producer no longer 
has a market at his door, but must take or ship his cattle to 
the market in one of these cities." 

These startling statements call for serious consideration. 
The consumption of beef is common to our whole popula- 
tion, scattered throughout all the states and territories. 
The cattle industry, though greater in some parts of the 
country than in others, is nevertheless, commom every- 
where. There is no natural reason why the market for beef 
cattle should be confined exclusively to the six cities above 
named, nor why the dealers of Chicago should fix the 
prices to be paid by the buj^ers at the other localities. It 
sounds like the rankest fiction to be told that the meat 
venders in a thousand cities, towns and villages dotting 
every nook and corner of forty-four states and four terri- 
tories, exclusive of Alaska, are not permitted to purchase 
food cattle from neighboring farmers and prepare them for 
consumption; that they must first ship their cattle to distant 
cities, unload them at designated stock-yards, sell them to 
confederated speculators who turn them over to another set 
of pals to be slaughtered, and that another party of free- 
booters then take charge of the carcasses and ship them 
back to the cities and villages near where the cattle were 
grown and where the finished product must at last be pur- 
chased at extortionate prices. It transcends the domain of 
fiction to be told that sixty-four millions of people are not 
permitted to furnish their tables or replenish their larders 


unless they submit uncomplainingly to this high-handed 

If such is the state of affairs the conclusion is irresistable, 
that we are a subjugated and plutocratic ridden people, and 
exist and hold our fortunes at the sufferance of our mas- 
ters. And again, if we contemplate striking a blow for 
liberty, it is well to know who are the tyrants and we must 
also understand the instruments through which the oppressors 
have enslaved us. The investigations and report of the 
Senate committee do not leave us in doubt as to either. 

The committee report that the revolution in the cattle 
industry is due to combinations between railroad corpora- 
tions, the establishment of stock-yards owned by parties 
connected with the railroads upon whose lines these yards 
are located, and to the fact that a few men at Chicago, of 
enormous capital, who are engaged in the packing and 
dressed beef business, are, by reason of their understand- 
ing with the railroad magnates, enabled to dominate abso- 
lutely the price of beef cattle for the whole country. The 
committee found that in the year 1873, the three great trunk 
railroads, running between Chicago and New York, the 
Pennsylvania Central, New York Central and the Erie, 
entered into a combination with certain Chicago shippers 
known as "Eveners, " to charge $115 for each car load of 
cattle shipped over their lines from Chicago to New York, 
and to allow the "Eveners " fifteen dollars on each car load 
of cattle so shipped. This practically destroyed the St. 
Louis market. Had a half dozen piratical crafts steamed 
up the Mississippi, cast anchor and proceeded to loot the 
city, they could not have inflicted half the damage that 
resulted to the business interests of St. Louis from this 
"Evener's" combine headed by the three great railroad 
corporations. It began in 1873 and continued for a little 
over five years. The fifteen dollar rebate was only allowed 


the Chicago shippers and was denied to all others. The 
committee say: 

"The 'Evener' combination terminated about 1878-9, 
and when we consider the fact that the three great roads 
composing it monopolized the entire cattle transportation 
from Chicago to New York, amounting to four million 
cattle between 1871 and 1879, and that the enormons sum 
paid by cattle shippers at the stock yards were added to 
freight charges, and the whole amount collected from the 
cattle interests, some idea may be formed of the profits 
divided by the parties engaged in the conspiracy. The 
inevitable effect of this combine, which gave a premium of 
fifteen dollars a car upon all cattle shipped from Chicago 
east, was to concentrate the marketing of all western cattle 
at Chicago." 

The cattle receipts at the Union Stock Yards rose from 
684,075 in 1872, to 1,083,068 in 1878: 

About the time the "Evener" combination ceased, the 
dressed beef interests, which now controls the entire market 
of the country, rose to prominence and began its gigantic 
and unparalleled career of depredation. 

In 1888 there were 584,533 head of cattle slaughtered at 
Chicago for canning purposes, and in 1889 two million head 
were slaughtered for the dressed beef trade. The report 
says: "This great business is practically in the hands of 
four establishments at Chicago: Armour & Co., Swift & 
Co., Nelson Morris & Co., and Hammond & Co. Of 
these Armour & Co. and Swift & Co. are the largest 
houses, their maximum capacity for slaughtering being 
3,500 cattle, 3,000 sheep, and 12,000 hogs every ten hours. 
Besides the houses at Chicago there are branches of Ar- 
mour & Co.'s establishment at Kansas City, Missouri, and 
Omaha, and of Swift & Co. at Kansas City and Omaha, and 
of Nelson Morris & Co. at Kansas City and St. Louis. " 


The control of the cattle market is completely within the 
grasp of these firms and they combine among themselves 
not to bid against each other and to crush out competition 
whenever and wherever it mav arise and to further terrorize 
and boycott all who have the temerity to question their 
right to plunder the people. Mr. Levcrett Leonard, of 
Saline county, Missouri, testified before the committee that 
he owned three or four hundred head of cattle which he 
had been feeding for a year, and that he had been warned 
by a faithful friend not to ship them in his own name as 
he was spotted in the market, and he states that he has no 
doubt about the correctness of his information. 

When the committee visited Chicago they were unable 
to procure full and frank testimony from either the com- 
mission men at the Union Stock Yards, or from the em- 
ployes of the packing and dressed beef houses. They 
stated to the committee in private that the "big four" had 
combined, but when put upon the stand, the committee say 
"they shuffled and prevaricated to such a degree as in 
many cases to create commiseration." The agents of the 
dressed beef houses evaded the service of process, and 
failed to appear even after being summoned. P. D. Ar- 
mour, Nelson Morris, Louis F. Swift, and Frank E. Yogel 
and two of their agents, refused to obey the summons of 
the Senate committee. The first named gentleman did 
finally appear before the committee at Washingten, "out 
of respect" as he stated in his testimony. 

The committee's stay and work in the city of Chicago 
was made very unpleasant. They state in their report that 
the business interests and the press of the city are in sym- 
pathy with and under the influence of these gigantic firms. 

The Senate committee further state that "the overwhelm- 
ing weight of testimony from witnesses of the highest 
character, and from all parts of the west, is to the effect 


that the cattle owners going with their cattle to Chicago 
and Kansas City markets find no competition among buy- 
ers, and if they refuse to take the first bid are generally 
forced to take a lower one." 

The conspiracy extends not alone to controlling the price 
of beef cattle, but also to controlling the price of dressed 
beef to consumers. Concerning the latter the committee 

"First. It is admitted that they combined to fix the 
price of beef to the purchaser and consumer, so as to keep 
up the cost in their own interest. (P. D. Armour's testi- 
mony, p. 481.) 

' Second. It is admitted that they have an agreement not 
to interfere with each other in certain markets and localities 
in the sale of their meat. (S. B. Armour's testimony, p. 

"Third. It is proved beyond doubt that they acted to- 
gether in supplying meat to the Soldiers' Home, at Hamp- 
ton, Va., the National Hospital for the Insane and other 
public institutions at Washington, D. C, the bid for con- 
tracts being made by one, and the meats being then sup- 
plied by each of the dressed beef men alternately for stated 
periods. (Testimony of Dr. W. W. Godding, p. 499 ; C. 
Jft. Purvis, p. 50; G. N. Omohundro, p. 504; W. H. 
Hoover, p. 502.) 

"Fourth. They combined in opening shops and under 
selling the butchers of cattle at Detroit and other places in 
Michigan, and at Pittsburgh, Pa., in order to force them to 
buy dressed meat. (Testimony of John Duff, p. 154; 
William Peters, p. 169.) 

"Fifth. They combined in refusing to sell any meat to 
butchers at Washington, D. C, because the butchers had 
bid against them for contracts to supply with meats the 
Government institutions in the District of Columbia. 
(Testimony <>f W. H. Hoover, p. 502; testimony of J. N. 
Hoover, p. 505; testimony of Santus Auth, p. 508.) 

"Sixth. They acted together at Chicago in refusing to 
come before the committee as witnesses, and in preventing 
their employes and agents from coming, it being an open 


secret that they met together with their counsel and agreed 
to their action. 

"With this overwhelming proof of a common interest and 
intent, we submit that it is difficult to believe that with the 
most apparent motive for such action the same parties, or 
their subordinates with their knowledge, do not avail them- 
selves of the opportunity presented by the centralization of 
markets to combine for the purpose of lowering the prices 
of cattle. 

"The declaration of Mr. P. D. Armour that he personally 
had no agreement with other buyers not to bid against each 
other is not conclusive, for he testifies himself that his 
agents acted as to business matters without his consent. 

"In one instance, as shown by the testimony, thefollowing 
telegram was sent from the office of Armour & Company, 
at Chicago: 

December 18, 1888. 
H. P. Lacey, Freeland, Pa.: 

Can not allow Schwabe to continue killing live cattle. If he will 
not stop, make other arrangements and make prices so as can get 
his trade. Armour & Company. 

"Lacey, to whom this telegram was addressed, acted as 
the agent of Armour & Company at Freeland, and 
Schwabe was a butcher at that place. Mr. Schwabe ap- 
peared before the committee and testified that he was 
approached by Lacey with a proposition to act in partner- 
ship with Lacey in the sale of dressed beef at Freeland for 
the firm of Armour & Company; that he refused, and was 
then informed by Lacey that he would be broken up in bus- 
iness. Notwithstanding this threat, Schwabe continued to 
butcher, and made his purchases of cattle at Buffalo. He 
testified that from the time of his refusal to sell dressed 
beef as proposed by Lacey, he could not buy any meat 
from Armour & Company, and could not get any cars from 
the Erie Railroad to ship his cattle from Buffalo, but was 
compelled to ship on the Delaware & Lackawanna by a 
route not so direct. In other words, he was boycotted by 
the Erie Railroad and Armour & Company for his refusal 
to discontinue killing cattle. 

"Mr. P. D. Armour frankly admitted that at Akron, 
Ohio, his firm established shops and sold dressed beef at 


such prices as forced the local butchers to sell his dressed 

If this is not the boldest kind of wholesale piracy, will 
the reader kindly give it a name? It is both rapine and 
starvation combined. It disregards not only the fortunes 
but the lives of its victims. We venture to ask the readei 
what he thinks of the political status and economic situa- 
tion which tolerates such things and renders them possible? 

Since the committee took its testimony one of the firms, 
Hammond & Co., have sold to an English syndicate. 

But the committee further report : 

"Under the terms of the resolution creating the commit- 
tee we were instructed to inquire as to the transportation 
of meat products, and we have endeavored to discharge 
that duty. 

"No one factor has been more potent and active in effect- 
ing an entire revolution in the methods of marketing the 
meat supply of the United States than the railway trans- 

"We have alluded in a former part of this report to the 
Evener Combination between the great railroads running 
East from Chicago, and while that arrangement terminated 
some years ago, there are other and more powerful associ- 
ations between railroad companies, now operative, which 
affect vitally the meat supply of the country. 

"At the city of Chicago is the Central Traffic Association 
embracing nearly all the railroads west of Pittsburgh, and 
from Chicago to the Ohio and Mississippi Kivers, while the 
Trunk Line Association at New York has in its member- 
ship all the roads running east from Chicago. The object 
of forming these associations is to prevent cutting in rates 
as between the roads, and to control the entire traffic of 
the country in the interest of the railroad companies. 
Practically it is one combination, for the Trunk Line Asso- 
ciation, by means of the connecting lines controlled by the 
great Eastern roads, the Pennsylvania, New Yonc Central 
Erie, and Baltimore and Ohio, all of which belong to the 


Trunk Line Association, dominates the Central Traffic 

"The enormous power wielded by the Trunk Line Associ- 
ation is almost incalculable. Every pound of freight and 
every head of cattle and hogs going either way across the 
continent must pay tribute to the roads comprising this 
vast combine. At its head is the president of the Pennsyl- 
vania Railroad, a corporation whose vice-president testified 
before the committee that his company controlled 7,000 
miles of railway, and had on its pay-roll 80,000 employes. 
Consolidated in purpose, and under the management of 
able men whose lives are devoted to corporate interests, 
there can not be imagined an organization more potent than 
this combination. 

"As a necessary result of the concentration at Chicago of 
the cattle trade by railroad combination, there was estab- 
lished at that place the Union Stock Yards, and similar 
yards at Buffalo between Chicago and isew York. 

"The Union Stock Yards Company has a capital stock of 
$4,400,000, owns 320 acres of ground, of which 200 acres 
are used for the yards and 120 occupied for railway tracks. 
The company has nearly 100 miles of railroad connecting 
with all the roads coming to Chicago, and employs in its 
yard nearly 2,000 men. The capacity of these yards is 
about 25,000 cattle, 120,000 hogs and 15,000 sheep daily. 

"Some idea can be obtained of the profits secured by this 
enterprise when we reflect that the charges for feed, which 
must be bought exclusively from the company, are SI per 
100 pounds for prairie hay, 81.50 for tame hay, and $1 a 
bushel for corn. To this must be added the charge of 25 
cents for each head of cattle entering the yards, 8 cents on 
every hog, and 5 cents on each sheep. 

"For the year 18S9 we find from the official report of the 
Union Stock Yards that there were yarded, exclusive of 
calves, 3,023,281 cattle, 5,998,526 hogs, and 1,832,469 
sheep, making the amounts received by the company for 
yardage alone $1,327,325. 

"As a practical illustration of the charges to which the 
shipper is subjected at these yards, we give the following 
copy of returns actually made to a Missouri farmer: 


Nov. 4. 18 hogs, 4,390 pounds, $3.60 per 100. ... $ 158.04 

4. 49 hogs, 9,520 pounds, $3.70 per 100.. . . 352.24 

4. 1 cripple 10— 1 dead 12.00 

5. 20 hogs, 4,690 pounds, $3.50 per 100. .. . 164.15 

5. 1 pig 3.00 

5. 54 hogs, 10,170 pounds, $3.85 per 100. . . 391.54 

5. 33 hogs, 4,650 pounds, $3.85 per 100. . . . 217.53 

6. 29 hogs, 7,820 pounds, $3.55 per 100. . . . 277.61 

6. 2 pigs, 230 pounds 6.9U 

6. 1 pig 3.60 

Total $ 1,586.61 

Charges, railroad $ 219.80 

Yardage 16.48 

Corn 11.20 

Commission /. 18.00 


Net proceeds $ 1,321.13 

"As specimens of the feed bills we give the following 
which were paid at Chicago by the same person: 

October 30, 3 cattle; November 3, 15 cattle; November 1, 1 cow. 
Charges, hay, $47.55. 

Another — 

October 29, 4 cattle; November 3, 14 cattle. Charges, hay, $43.95. 
February 3, 157 hogs. Charges, corn, $28. 

"This evidence is valuable for two purposes. It shows 
the exorbitant and rapacious charges inflicted upon cattle 
owners and shippers, and it furnishes an explanation of the 
motives which actuate the men who own the railroads in 
their action as to the transportation of cattle and dressed 

"The secretary of the Union Stock Yards testified at 
Chicago that when the company was established the stock 
was subscribed by the railroads, but when asked to show 
his stock books he declined, after consultation with the 
company's attorneys, and persisted in this refusal at Wash- 
ington City. 

"For the purposes of our investigation it was not consid- 
ered necessary to ascertain in whose names the stock now 
stands, for we were satisfied that whatever the ownership 
it would not appear in the names of the railroad presidents, 
directors and stock-holders, who are the real owners. 


"The refusal of the secretary, under direction of his em- 
ployers, to make public the list of stockholders must have 
been because of the fact that the same men own the stock 
yards and the railroads running to them, and they do not 
propose to submit their books to scrutiny, because they 
dread the truth. 


"The testimony of witnesses connected with the lines of 
steamers running from New York to foreign ports dis- 
closed the fact that it is the custom for certain shippers to 
engage for months in advance all the carrying capacity of 
steamers transporting live cattle and dressed beef abroad, 
so as to shut out other parties entirely from the foreign 

"The proof showed that in some instances all the steam- 
ers in a line would be contracted for months in advance to 
jne shipper. (Printed testimony, pp. 555, 556 and 557.) 

"The only reason assigned for this extraordinary pro- 
ceeding is the pretext that if the carrying capacity of a 
steamer should be divided between two or more shippers, 
their employes in charge of the cattle would engage in 
quarrels and fights, which caused trouble and annoyance to 
the officers! 

" As one witness expressed it, 'the idea is that the cattle- 
tenders get to fighting and we cannot control them, but 
where we have but one man's servants we can control 

"These exclusive contracts are not made after advertise- 
ment to the highest and best bidder, nor are sealed propos- 
als made and accepted. The testimony shows that the con- 
tracts made by the steamship lines witli brokers who offer 
to engage one or more steamers for a certain number of 
months at a certain price for transportation of each animal, 
and after the contract is closed the steamers contracted are 
out of the market. From that time the monopoly exists, 
and it is useless for any other shipper to apply. 

" When it is considered that these steamers are common 
carriers, and subject to the law regulating the rights and 
duties of the public and common carriers, the enormity of 


the abuse created by this practice of monopolizing their 
capacity in transporting cattle to foreign ports, is evident. 
The plain and settled provisions of the law governing 
common carriers require them to receive freight as it is 
offered from all shippers alike up to their full ability to re- 
ceive and transport." 

The report of the Senate committee is very succinct and 
complete. We have copied freely from it in order to give 
the reader some idea of the magnitude of the pillage con- 
nected with this single industry . We now venture to ask 
him if he does not think, in view of these facts, that a Gov- 
ernment which will stand by and witness such wholesale 
spoliation without miking an effort to protect the people, 
has about lost its vitality and virtue, and that the political 
parties under whose fostering care these outrages have been 
permitted have forfeited the respect and confidence of the 
people ? Does not duty call us to the rescue, and dare we 
longer disregard her voice ? 


Letters of Marque, in the present age, simply consist of 
a license or extraordinary commission, granted by the su- 
preme power of one state to its subjects to make reprisals 
at sea on the subjects of another. It is generally done 
under the pretense of indemnification for injuries received. 
By treaty, in 1856, letters of marque were abolished among 
European nations. They were generally the forerunner of 
war, and the persons who carried them little else than 
licensed pirates. The practice of granting such commis- 
sions was justified, however, by the most enlightened writ- 
ers upon international law, and obtained among the most 
advanced Christian nations, even until the hand upon the 
dial of our own century had passed its meridian. In fact, 
this country still adheres to the doctrine, and refused to 
join with the European powers in the treaty of 1856. 


It is not difficult to discern some color of reason and 
justification for the custom. A refusal to redress grievan- 
ces is, in fact, the application of force to the situation, and 
force must be met with force. But the granting of letters 
of marque is always preceded by an effort on the part of 
the Sovereign whose subjects are injured to secure peaceful 
and orderly redress. Without such effort the practice can- 
not be justified, as it is equivalent to clothing private par- 
ties with the power of levying war, and expressly em- 
powers them to seize, appropriate and destroy property 
belonging to subjects of the delinquent nation. 

The creation of corporations for pecuniary profit, either 
by special charter, or under a general statute of authority, 
which may be evoked at any time for such purpose, bears 
strong resemblance to the practice among Nations of grant- 
ing letters of marque, except that there is never any pre- 
ceding offense to justify it. The corporation is always au- 
thorized by the Sovereign to make its reprisals upon an 
unoffending people. If the powers conferred upon the 
corporation are of a public character, such as should be 
performed by the Government itself but are conferred upon 
an association of individuals for private gain, the resem- 
blance between the two becomes decidedly striking. In 
such cases the pretext is that it is for the public good, but 
in fact the sovereign power is farmed out for private gain 
and the public is depredated upon without mercy. Bank- 
ing, transportation and telegraph companies clearly belong 
in this category. The} r are public corporations clothed 
with powers that clearly belong to the Government, and 
they exercise their exalted prerogatives for private emolu- 
ment. The public welfare is simply subordinated to the 
exactions of private greed. 

It is not by any means claimed that all corporations for 
pecuniary profit are vicious, either in design, management 


or consequences. "We simply affirm that the power to do 
wrong is conferred without the possibility of accompanying 
restraint. The children of men acting under the repression 
of moral and legal accountability, evolve about all the evil 
that humanity can bear, and the supplimentary harvest of 
injustice and wrong doing which results from the creation 
of a horde of artificial persons, who are void of the feelings 
of pity and the compunctions of conscience, inflames the 
situation to a degree which threatens the destruction of 
social order. 

Among all nations it has long been conceded to be the 
duty of Sovereigns to construct and maintain highways, pro- 
vide the circulating medium and superintend the transmis- 
sion of intelligence among their subjeets. Common sense 
and ordinary business prudence demand that we should 
have, in such matters, the most efficient service at the low- 
est possible cost. But the present system imposes an im- 
perfect service at extortionate rates. Besides, it in fact 
empowers the corporation to discriminate between individ- 
ual citizens and they constantly and arbitrarily exercise 
this power. The Government has neither the moral nor 
the legal right to discriminate or to favor one citizen in 
preference to another in matters which are the common 
right of all; and yet the corporation, acting with delegated 
power, seems to have no other rule of action. They claim 
and exercise the power to impoverish one individual by 
discriminations, and to enrich another; to build up one 
city and to lay waste another; to grant favors to the people 
of one locality at the expense and to the utter ruin of the 
people of another. No Government, guilty of such thing3 
could stand for a single year. No self-respecting or spirited 
people woald for a moment think of submitting to such 
oppression at the hands of their Government, but would 
fly to arms without hesitation. They would choose the 


hazards of war and perfer the perils of piracy to the cer- 
tainty of spoliation under such a state of society. And. 
yet our Government has chartered thousands of cor- 
porations, turned them loose upon us and now permits 
them to commit from year to year these very outrages 
upon our people. These charters are neither more nor less 
than letters of marque, authorizing those who hold them to 
prey upon the commerce of the country, and they are the 
forerunners of something still more serious if they be not 
speedily recalled and the evils they entail quickly remedied. 

The United States Corporation Bureau of Chicago re- 
ports the weekly list of newly-completed corporations in the 
United States for the week ending May 22d, as follows: 
Total corporations, 362; total capitalization, $215, 961,425; 
distributed as follows: mercantile and manufacturing com- 
panies, 176, $15,638,675; banks (not national) and invest- 
ment companies, 12, 82,100,000; national banks (to May 
18th) 1, $50,000; gold, silver and other mining and smelt- 
ing companies, 7, $3,090,000; light, heat, power and trans- 
portation companies, 33, $37,532,000; building and loan as- 
sociations, 16, 8130,750.000; miscellaneous, 89, $7,548,750. 

If we take the report for this week as an average, the 
corporations organized in the year 1891 will record the 
startling aggregate of 11,220,100. The value of all the 
gold and silver coin of the whole earth, produced during 
the last five hundred yeajv, barely reaches this stupendous 
capitalization of the cur: jnt year ! The object had in view 
by the incorporators, in ninety-nine cases out of every 
hundred, is to shirk personal responsibility in case of loss — 
to exempt the private property of the stockholders from 
execution. These enterprises are made up of expectation 
and apprehension. If expectations are realized, corpora- 
tors flourish; if apprehensions are verified, the misfortune 
is unloaded upon the people. Could anything be more 

The abuses which flow from these reckless and cruel ven- 
tures will be further elaborated when we come to treat of 
the transportation problem. 




At the death of Theodosius, A. D. 395, the United 
Roman Empire was divided into what are known in history 
as the Eastern and Western Empires. The west, with its 
capital at Rome, was given to the deceased Emperor's son 
Honorius, and the east to the other son, Arcadius, with the 
capital at Constantinople. But the Empire was then totter- 
ing near its fall. When the great Theodosius died, one of 
his ablest military chieftains, Alaric, King of the Yisigoths, 
taking advantage of the straightened condition of the 
Government, and the disorganized state of public senti- 
ment, made war upon the Romans. In the year, A. D. 
408, he reached the gates of Rome, at that time the most 
magnificent city of the world. The people were unwilling 
to defend it outright and so the wealthier portion of the 
community bought Alaric off for 5,000 pounds of gold and 
30,000 pounds of silver, and bis army was withdrawn. In 
the year 409 the siege was renewed, and finally in the third 
campaign (410) the city was taken and the soldiers were 
allowed to plunder it to their heart's content. It seems 
strange that a people who had conquered about all the 
nations then known, and whose victorous eagle dominated 
over all the countries bordering on the Mediterranean sea, 
together with Britain and a good part of western Asia, and 



which contained within its own lines the centers of wealth, 
education and refinement, should be unable to defend 
themselves against the barbarous legions of this fierce 
marauder from the provinces of Northern Europe. The 
student of history involuntarily demands an explanation. 
The problem is not difficult of solution. Mankind have 
ever been the victims of tyrannical power and tyranny has 
a variety of manifestations. 

When society is rife with the war-like spirit, the military 
despot is the oppressor. When the martial spirit subsides, 
labor, turning its attention to productive pursuits, smites 
the earth with the instruments of husbandry, and soon 
there gushes forth from its surface a golden stream, ample 
to supply all the wants of the children of men. Content- 
ment, that fickle and elusive goddess, for a time smiles 
upon every home and presides at every fire-side. As 
wealth increases, methods of distribution and exchange are 
found to be inadequate. Barter proves to be tardy, clumsy 
and disappointing. Society, unmindful of its power, ap- 
peals to individuals instead of to itself to furnish facilities 
for exchange. These auxiliaries of trade and commerce 
are accordingly furnished, but in such limited quantities 
and at such an exorbitant price as to make the fortunate 
possessors of, wealth and cunning the masters of society, 
and they, in turn, become the oppressors. In the very na- 
ture of human wants and in the vast variety of climate 
and soil, widely separated and yet inhabited by kindred 
beings, each having physical wants which his own locality 
cannot fully supply, nature seems to have suggested aloud 
through all ages and to all men, the necessity for frater- 
nity and adequate facilities for mutual exchange. The cur- 
rents of atmosphere sigh for sails to fill ; the streams 
stretch inland from the sea ; the frozen reservoirs of the 
mountains melt and leap down the ruggid precipice and 


"join the brimming river," to construct a floating highway 
for man. The ebb and flow of tides beckon us to adven- 
ture and allure us to return. Nature would seem to fur- 
ther suggest that as men are numerous and prone to 
increase, and as the earth is bountiful in its provisions tc 
meet the wants of human, and indeed of all animal life, 
mankind should also be quick to supply themselves with 
abundant facilities for exchanging and transporting these 
bounties. Without such provisions, production, in a great 
measure, is vain, proper distribution impossible, and the 
concentration of wealth in the hands of the few inevitable. 
Only the wealthy can afiord to hold these products in large 
quantities to await distribution. It is under such condi- 
tions that the rich and powerful, taking advantage of the 
helplessness of the people, commit the great crime of all 
ages, the usurpation of the soil. Then in a brief period 
the unfortunate and weak are deprived of a foothold upon 
the earth, and soon the social structure topples to its fall 
to await reconstruction. Injustice of this character led to 
the downfall of every nation of antiquity; but neither the 
productive energy of the earth nor the industry of its in. 
habitants have been at fault. The difficulty has ever 
been with vicious and defective systems, alike hostile to 
the necessities of the race and the bounties of nature. 
Nations which persist in degrading and enslaving labor 
always perish. Society and the whole framework of civil 
government are built upon labor, nor could the State exist 
in peace for a single year without its sustaining power. 
Impoverish labor and you imperil the whole structure of 
society. Nay, more, you plant the seeds of decay, from 
which you must speedily reap a harvest of death. Men 
will voluntarily defend that which they love and cherish. 
But as soon as they learn that their government is a rob- 
ber, or, that it protects privileged classes in robbing the 


many, and that there is no escape from this glaring in- 
justice, that moment patriotism is transformed into rebel- 
lion and sedition takes the place of public tranquility. 
Such were the results in Rome in the days of her greatest 
power. Such will be the sequel in America if we longer 
refuse to recognize the perils of our situation. 

"During the entire ages of Trajan and the Antonines,'' 
says Sismondi, " a succession of virtuous and philosophic 
emperors followed each other; the world was at peace; the 
laws were wise and well administered; riches seemed to 
increase; each succeeding generation raised palaces more 
splendid, monuments and public edifices more sumptuous 
than the preceding; the senatorial families found their reve- 
nues increased; the treasury levied greater imposts; increas- 
ing opulence continued to meet the eye, but man became 
more miserable; the rural population, formerly active, ro- 
bust and energetic, were succeeded by a foreign race; while 
the inhabitants of towns sank in vice and idleness, or per- 
ished in want amidst the riches they had themselves created. 
It is not on the mass of wealth, it is on its distribution that 
the prosperity of States depends." 

The historian then proceeds to show the deadly results 
of colossal individual fortunes: 

" During the long peace which followed the victories of 
Trajan and Marcus Aurelius, those colossal fortunes were 
accumulated, which, according to Pliny, ruined Italy and 
the Empire. A single proprietor by degrees came to buy 
up whole provinces, the conquest of which had in former 
times furnished the occasion of many triumphs of the gen- 
erals of the republic. While this huge capitalist was 
amassing riches wholly disproportionate to the wants of 
man, the once numerous and respectable but now beggared 
middle class disappeared from the face of the earth. In 
districts where so many brave and industrious citizens were 
to be seen in former times, alike ready to defend or culti- 
vate their fields, were found to be nothing but slaves who 


rapidly declined in number as the fields came to be exclu- 
sively devoted to pasturage. The fertile plains of Italy 
ceased to nourish its inhabitants; Rome depended entirely 
for its subsistence on the harvest which its fleets brought 
from Cicily, Africa and Egypt. From the Capital to the 
farthest extremity of the provinces, depopulation and 
misery in the country co-existed with enormous wealth in 
the towns. From this cause the impossibility of recruiting 
the legions with native Romans was experienced even in 
the time of Marcus Aurelius. In his war against the Quadi 
and Marcommani, which had been preceded by a long 
peace, he was obliged to recruit the legions with the slaves 
and robbers of Rome. It is impossible to give stronger 
proof of the extent to which the enormous evil of the vast 
fortunes accumulated in the towns, and the entire ruin of 
industry in the country, had gone in the last days of the 
empire, than is to be found in the fact, that when Rome was 
taken by Alaric, in the year 404 (410) after Christ, while 
Italy could furnish no force to resist the invaders, the capi- 
tal itself contained 1,760 families, many of them with in- 
comes of £160,000 a year, equal to £300,000 of our money, 
whose expenditures maintained an urban population of 
1,200,000 souls." 

In describing the same scenes of desolation the French 
Historian, Michelet, says: 

"The Christian emperors could not remedy the growing 
depopulation of the country any more than their heathen 
predecessors. All their efforts only showed the impotence 
of Government to arrest that dreadful evil. Sometimes 
alarmed at the depopulation, they tried to mitigate the lot 
of the farmer, and shield him against the landlord; upon 
this the proprietor exclaimed he could no longer pay the 
taxes. At other times they abandoned the farmer, sur- 
rendered him to the landlord, and strove to chain him to 
the soil; but the unhappy cultivator perished or fled, and 
the land became deserted. Even in the time of Augustus, 
efforts were made to arrest the depopulation at the expense 
of morals, by encouraging concubinage. Pertinax granted 
immunity from taxes to those who would occupy the desert 



lands of Italy; to the cultivators of distant provinces and 
to the allied kings. Aureliairdid the same. Probus was 
obliged to transport from Germany men and oxen to culti- 
vate Gaul; Maximan and Constantius transported the 
Franks and the Germans from Picardy and Hainault into 
Italy; but depopulation in towns and country continued. 
The people gave themselves up to despair in the fields, as 
a beast of burden lies down beneath his load and refuses to 
rise. In vain the emperor strove by offers of immunities 
and exemptions, to recall the cultivators to their deserted 
fields. Nothing could induce them to do so. The desert 
extended daily. At the commencement of the fifth century 
there were in Happy Campania, the most fertile province 
of the empire, 520,(300 jugera (320,000 acres) in a state of 

After searching history for the cause of this desolation, 
Gibbon says: "As the footsteps of the barbarians had not 
yet been seen in Italy, the cause of this amazing devasta- 
tion, which is recorded in the laws (0. O. D. Theod. I. 
XI B. 38, C 2) can be ascribed only to the administration 
of the Roman emperors." Here is a picture with such 
familiar face as to be mistaken, were it not for the names, 
as a bit of current history taken from every day American 
life. Brutus, when he was pro-consul of Cicily, loaned 
money at 60^ interest. The contrast in the home life of 
the borrower and the lender may readily be imagined . In 
that day, as in this, men of large estates frequently ex- 
pended immense sums in commendable public enterprises. 
Agrippa built the pantheon at his own expense and supplied 
Rome with a hundred fountains and adorned them with 
stately carved columns and statuary. "The nobles oi 
Rome," says Gibbon, "were more tenacious of property 
than of freedom." 

Lord Macauley speaking of the economic situation in 
Rome, says: 


"The ruling class was a monied class; and it made and 
administered the laws solely to its own interest. Thus the 
relation between the lender and the borrower was mixed 
up with the relations between Sovereign and subject. The 
great men held a great portion of the community in 
dependence by means of advances at enormous interest. 
The law of debt framed by the creditors, and for the pro- 
tection of creditors, was the most horrible known among 
men. The liberty, and even the life, of the insolvent were 
at the mercy of the patrician money lenders." 

About the close of the second century the pretorian 
band, numbering less than 15,000 men, had Kome com- 
pletely at their mercy. When the emperor Pertinax 
undertook to correct the abuses which had grown up under 
the infamous Commodus, he was beheaded by the pre- 
torians. His father-in-law aspired to the throne. Fearing 
the fierce murderers of the emperor, he offered to treat for 
the imperial dignity. This had only the effect to whet the 
avarice of the soldiers and they immediately ran out on 
the ramparts and proclaimed that the empire was to be 
sold at public auction to the highest bidder. Didius Jul- 
ianus, a wealthy Senator, yielding to the persuasions of his 
family, hastened to the pretorian camps, took his position 
at the foot of the ramparts and began to bid against Sulp- 
icianus, the father-in-law of the late emperor. Faithful 
messengers passed from one candidate to the other and 
acquainted each of the others bid. Sulpicianus offered a 
hundred and sixty pounds to each soldier. Julianus at 
once offered upwards of two hundred pounds sterling and 
immediately the gates of the camp were thrown open to 
the purchaser. He was declared emperor and received 
the oath of allegiance from the soldiers. After a brief 
and bloody reign of sixty days, he was himself overthrown 
.and beheaded at the order of Severus who, at the urgent 
solicitation of the Roman people, had collected an armv 


for the purpose of avenging the murder of Pertinax and 
to assert the violated majesty of the empire. 

This conqueror disarmed the pretorians, decreed that 
none of them should live nearer than one hundred miles of 
the capital, and put forty-one senators to death who had 
acknowledged the purchased authority of Julianus. About 
the close of the second century Oleander was prime minis- 
ter of the Emperor Commodus. Gibbon, in his Decline 
and Fall of the Roman Empire, says of him: 

"Avarice was the main passion of his soul, and the 
great principle of his administration. The rank of consul, 
of patrician, of Senator was exposed to public sale; and it 
would have been considered as disaffection, if any one 
had refused to purchase these empty and disgraceful 
honors with the greatest part of his fortune. In the lucra- 
tive provencial employments the minister shared with the 
governor the spoils of the people. The execution of the 
laws was venal and arbitrary. A wealthy criminal might 
obtain, not only the reversal of the sentence by which he 
was justly condemned, but might likewise inflict whatever 
punishment he pleased on the accusor, the witnesses and 
the judge. * * * To divert the public envy, 
Oleander, under the emperor's name, erected baths, porti- 
cos, and places of exercise, for the use of the people." 

It was the boast of Augustus that he found the capital 
of brick and left it of marble; yet the visible accumulations 
of increasing wealth did not inure to the relief of the poor. 

For centuries prior to the fall, money was exceedingly 
scarce among the people. The oath required of every tax- 
payer was so strict and the penalties accompanying its 
violation so extreme, as to render concealment by the pri- 
vate citizens more dangerous than disclosure. When it 
became known that an individual was possessed of any 
considerable quantity of treasure, it was in some way made 
tributary to the royal exchequer. The tillers of the soil 
had neither money, adequate facilities for transportation 


nor medium of inter-communication. If want existed in 
one province and a surplus in another, there was no suffi- 
cient and speedy method of bringing the two extremes 
together. The farmers were poor and in times of plenty 
the fortunate possessors of wealth purchased the supplies 
at ruinously low prices, stored them in warehouses and 
awaited the time of scarcity. In the purchase they 
robbed the producer. When scarcity came they extorted 
exorbitant prices from the consumer. The senators who 
possessed lands connived at and openly engaged in specu- 
lations in the necessaries of life. The Emperor Julian 
reproached them for this, and on one occasion imprisoned 
above two hundred of them for a short time, on the charge 
of having sacrificed the public welfare to private interest. 

By imperial decree he enacted that in time of scarcity 
grain should be sold at a price below what it brought in 
years of plenty. He then sent into the markets 422,000 
measures of imperial wheat which was sold at the minimum 
price. The rich bought it up and withheld the supplies. 
The small quantity which appeared on sale was secretly 
disposed of to the consumers at famine prices. This crime 
has cursed the world through all ages, and the civilization 
of our own period is grappling with this ancient enemy of 
the race. 

At this era taxes, for the most part, were payable in gold 
coin, the only kind of money which could be legally ac- 
cepted. The remainder of the tribute was payable in kind, 
such as wine or oil, corn or barley, wood or iron, and the 
laws for the collection of every species of tax were severely 
distressing and cruel. To use the language of Gibbon, 
the system of taxation "fell like a hail-storm upon the land, 
like a devouring pestilence upon its inhabitants." There 
was a personal tribute laid upon the industry of the poor 


called the "Gold of affliction." It was abolished by An- 
astasius atnid the rejoicing of the people. 

But seasons of reform were of short duration and invari- 
ably followed by oppression and constant disorder. Sunshine 
and tempest, tranquility and tumult, private accumulation 
and public spoliation followed each other in such quick suc- 
cession that human nature became exhausted, hope perished 
and constructive effort ceased. The acquisitions of industry 
only invited the vicious to plunder and even the loving kind, 
ness of the gospel was scoffed at as the code of hypocrisy 
and cowardice. Man could do no more. The ^Nation stood 
facing its sepulcher. There was nothing left for it but 
death, mitigated by the reflection that when nations die 
accursed of God and man there is for them no resurrection. 

At the period of the fall of the "Western Eoman Empire, 
its authorit}^ extended over the territory now occupied by 
the following states among others: 

Square miles. 

Italy 114,380 

Spain 198,171 

Portugal 34,595 

France 204,030 

Germany 208,624 

Great Britain and Ireland 121,571 

Total 881,371 

But this includes mountains, lakes, streams, cities, 
marshes, and all other varieties of untillable area. We 
must deduct therefore from this total one-third at least in 
order to ascertain approximately the tillable land in the 
countries named. This will leave us 587,000 square miles, 
in round numbers. 

It will be coDceded, doubtless, that nature in the creation 
of this vast area of fertile land suited for the abode of man. 
did not accompany the gift with a law which should 


cause the wealth resulting from its cultivation to flow into 
the hands of a few idlers. It would be blasphemous to so 
conclude. Man alone is responsible for this stupendous 
crime, wherever it is found to exist. 

The fatal malady spoken of by the historians quoted did 
not stop with the death of the Roman Empire. It has 
remained like a leprosy to curse all the nations of the old 
world, and the virus has inocculated all peoples. 

Like a dreadful scrofula it has been transmitted 
from generation to generation and from age to age. It is 
sickening to contemplate the sufferings of the countless 
millions of human beings who have lived in abject want 
and died in helpless poverty within the kingdoms of the 
old world. Surrounded with abundance of food on every 
hand which they themselves created, they were doomed 
to starve. With material in sight sufficient to comfortably 
clothe the world they were forced to shiver naked in the 
cold. With supplies on every hand sufficient to shelter all 
ma -i Kind they were condemned by inhuman laws and devil- 
ish economic systems to herd together like cattle, without 
shelter, homeless upon the earth. When laws become so 
vicious that the generous earth can no longer supply the 
wants of man and he is forced, in order to keep soul and 
body together to sell the planet on which he lives, it must 
be conceded that his condition is most miserable and the 
tyranny under which he is forced to live most complete. 

In a work published in England by Mr. Williams, in 
1875, it is stated that "The larger portion of the land in 
the kingdom is at present in mortgage," and it is estimated 
by competent authority at present that three-fourths of the 
land is mortgaged. Germany and Holland are similarl} r 
situated. In Italy mortgages are entirely out of proportion 
to value. Cuba is so heavily in debt that her people, al- 
though blessed with the richest soil on earth and the mildest 


climate, are giving up in despair and resorting to brigand- 
age. Five-sixths of the property of Ceylon is pledged be- 
yond its value. Egypt, India, Syria, Asia Minor and a score 
of other states have sunken hopelessly under the servitude 
of debt. The reports of American consuls concerning for- 
eign mortgages, made to the Secretary of State in the year 
1889, give the reader a succinct view of the mortgage 
curse of the world. They show that every nation, from the 
weakest to the most powerful, is carrying a load of indi- 
vidual indebtedness which is crushing out the hope, energy 
and the very life of mankind. They prove that usury is 
eating up the race and beggering universal society. 

The estimate of foreign debts, it must be remembered, 
do not include corporate, municipal and provincinai in- 
debtedness which serve to make the situation in the Old 
World still more alarming. As might be expected, valua- 
tions decreased between 1870 and 1880, from eighty to 
seventy-eight parts, while public and private debt increased 
enormously. Productive earnings sunk during the same 
period from seventy-five to seventy-three parts, while taxa- 
tion rose from seventy-six to eighty parts. The situation 
of the human race in that part of the world, under present 
systems, seems well-nigh hopeless. Impoverished, dis- 
armed, helpless, held in subjection by enormous standing 
armies, even the power to rebel is taken away. The state 
is armed and the citizen disarmed. The only alternative 
left is the possibility of escaping to some other country 
where the laws and conditions are more humane. This ac- 
counts for the restless tide of immigration constantly rising 
on our shores — a tide that ever flows but never ebbs. 

But what is the situation in our own beloved 


The Roman Empire had been in its tomb more than four- 
teen hundred years when our nation was born. But it 


should ever be remembered that man cannot get away from 
his own type, and that like causes will produce like effects 
in all ages and among all peoples. 

Does the young but great Republic hold out any hope to 
mankind ? Are we still a beacon light, or has our lamp 
so soon grown dim ? Are we still an asylum for the op- 
pressed of all nations, or are we about to become a police- 
man for the monarchs and despots of the old world — a 
despicable, international slave-catcher, under a world-wide 
fugitive slave law — engaged in the business of arresting 
and returning to their cruel task-masters the poor slaves 
who are fleeing hither to become citizens and to escape 
from hopeless conditions ? We blush to think that the 
events of a single century under our own unobstructed 
administration, have relieved the reign of George III. from 
at least one aspersion contained in our Declaration of Inde- 
pendence, namely: the charge of "obstructing the laws for 
the naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to 
encourage their migration hither." 

We are but an infant among the nations, but we have 
inherited a large estate. Our country is sparsely popu- 
lated; we have hundreds of millions of acres of fertile soil 
which have never felt the energy of the plowshare nor 
yielded a single grain for the sustenance of man, and yet 
we are complaining of immigration! 

England has 420 inhabitants to the square mile, New 
York has about 130, Massachusetts, exceptionally popu- 
lous, has about 220, Belgium has 450 to the square mile, 
Her territory is about the size ot the state of Maryland, but 
her population outnumbers the latter nearly five to one. If 
Ohio were peopled as densely as Belgium, she would con- 
tain 20,000,000 people and Illinois would contain 24,000,000. 
Iowa would contain over 21,000,000. If our whole coun- 
try were peopled like Belgium, we would number more 


than 1,400,000,000 souls, or a greater population tha.j row 
lives upon the whole globe! 


We find the following astonishing, yet nevertheless reli- 
able, statements in a speech delivered by the late Samuel 
S. Cox, in the Fiftieth Congress, upon the bill providing 
for taking the eleventh census: 

•'The land in actual use for growing maize or Indian 
corn, wheat, hay, oats, and cotton in the whole country 
now consists of 272,500 square miles, or a little more than 
the area of the single state of Texas. 

''The entire wheat crop of the United States could be 
grown on wheat land of the best quality selected from that 
part of the area of the state of Texas by which that single 
State exceeds the present area of the German Empire. 

"The cotton factories of the world now require about 
12,000,000 bales of cotton of American weight. Good 
land in Texas produces one bale to an acre. The world's 
supply of cotton could therefore be grown on less than 
19,000 square miles, or upon an area equal to only 7 per 
cent of the area of Texas." 

How completely do these statements and figures demon- 
strate the truth that our economic troubles are the result of 
puereile and vicious systems — systems born of avarice and 
upheld for plunder. 

What has become of our Christianit} r ? There is certainly 
room and to spare, at our table. The laws which govern 
the reproduction of our race are not at fault. The world is 
impatient for an explanation and our dilema must be 
quickly interpreted. 

A century of experiment has shown that our economic 
system is utterly unsuited to an increasing population, to 
the unerring laws of nature and to the fundamental wants 
of the human race. Think of the barbaric savagery of a 
system which permits a single generation to appropriate 


to itself the whole planet upon which it lives, in defraud 
of all who are to come after them! Is it any wonder that 
we hear of conflicts between capital and labor? Of con- 
flicts between those who have appropriated the earth and 
those who have been excluded from its occupancy and its 
blessings? We may be mistaken, but if we know anything 
of the laws which govern human nature and which must 
at last find vent and expression, the difficulties which now 
exist in our country and which are daily manifesting them- 
selves in strikes, lock-outs and incipient riots, are simply 
the picket firing which precedes the general conflict, if the 
people of America refuse much longer to listen to the 
voice of reason. If the troubles of to-day are serious, 
what will be our peril twenty years from now with our 
population grown to a hundred millions? Society calls 
aloud for readjustment and it must come speedily. The 
promptings of duty, the voice of justice and the ties of 
consanguinity unite in a three-fold persuasion to urge us to 
enter at once upon the work before it shall be unalterably 
too late. 

The child, who is born while we are penning these 
thoughts, comes into this world clothed with all the natural 
rights which Adam possessed when he was the sole inhab- 
itant of the earth. Liberty to occupy the soil in his own 
right, to till it unmolested as soon as he has the strength 
to do so and to live upon the fruits of his toil without pay- 
ing tribute to any other creature, are among the most 
sacred and essential of these rights; and any state of 
society which deprives men of these natural and inalien- 
able safeguards, is an organized rebellion against the prov- 
idence of God, a conspiracy against human life and a 
menace to the peace of the community. When complete 
readjustment shall come, as come it must quickly, it will 
proceed in accordance with this fundamental truth. The 


stone which the builders rejected will then become the head 
of the corner. 

But let us see if we are not traveling with frightful ve- 
locity along the same road which led Rome to the grave. 
It is true that our chief magistracy has never yet been sold 
at public auction; but does any one doubt that it has fre- 
quently, of late years, been purchased at private sale? 
The enormous campaign assessments, personal contribu- 
tions and wholesale disbursements which have characterized 
the presidential contests of late years leave little room for 
either doubt or apology, and they do not fall far short of 
open and avowed purchase. A seat in the United States 
Senate is now rarely secured except by the corrupt use of 
money and none but the wealthy need apply. It is an open 
secret that official positions, from the highest to the lowest 
in all the states and municipalities are often captured by an 
expenditure of money largely in excess of the stated emol- 
uments of the office. It is well-known to all who are 
familiar with public life that there has not been a single 
session of Congress within a quarter of a century which 
has been free from formidable schemes of jobbery — 
schemes looking either to the inauguration of new systems 
of plunder or the consummation of old ones. Our state leg- 
islatures are universally beset by formidable lobbies which 
either represent those who are seeking some new grant of 
power, or the beneficiaries of 'former vicious legislation 
who are now anxious that "vested rights" shall not be dis- 

A prominent Pennsylvania gentleman, long familiar with 
public affairs in that State, says: Inside of seven years 
the Standard Oil Trust spent $325,000 at Harrisburg. In 
five years it spent over $60,000 in Columbus; at Albany, 
but covering different years, $35,000 — for what? Has the 
reader any doubt? Not a single legislative session passes 


in any of the states where this crime is not substantially 
committed over and over again, from year to year, by the 
various classes of corporations and their agents. 


The immense landed estates of Britain had their origin 
in the vast grants made by William the Norman, to his 
military chieftains in the latter part of the eleventh century. 
But the overthrow of the feudal system established by the 
conqueror has not resulted in parceling out the great landed 
estates. On the contrary the tendency in modern times is 
toward enlargement of such holdings. Tyrants have 
always understood that if nations are to be enslaved the 
people must first be robbed of all title to their homes. 
When the feudal system was broken up it seemed that the 
land was about to be divided into small tracts henceforth 
to be cultivated by an independent, thrifty people. The 
hope proved illusive. Tyranny simply fell back on a 
stronger line of defense against popular aggression — the 
permanent impoverishment of labor enforced through a 
restricted circulating medium, and the control of the other 
great agencies of commerce. The right to accquire a free- 
hold was acknowledged, but the power to acquire it was 
withheld. So solicitious are civilized men to acquire homes 
of their own upon the earth, that in every period of indus- 
trial prosperity in Great Britain, the number of small 
holdings have invariably increased; but alas, with every 
reverse they have again diminished. To-day the people 
of Britain are fenced out from millions of acres of uncul- 
tivated land as we in the west were wont to fence out our 
cattle from cultivated fields in early dajs. Mr. John 
Bright a few years ago declared that nine hundred and 
thirty-five persons owned twenty-three million acres in the 
United Kingdom. The Duke of Breadelbane drives a 


hundred miles in direct line on his own land. Trie Duke 
of Southerland owns the whole of the county of Souther- 
land, comprising about eighteen hundred square miles. 
Mr. Wallace Bruce, United States Counsel at Lei'h, in his 
report to the Secretary of State, December, 1890, says that 
four million eight hundred and forty-three thousand acres 
of farm land in England are cultivated by tenants. This 
condition is still more marked in Ireland and Scotland. But 
we shall have something further to say upon land titles in 
England in our chapter on the effect of our financial system 
on land ownership. 

But the curse of land monopoly is increasing in our 
own country in an alarming ratio. 

The Committee on the Judiciary in the House of Rep- 
resentatives, for the Fifty-first Congress, was charged with 
the duty of investigating the extent of alien land ownership 
in the United States. They made a report (No. 2388) 
during the first session of that Congress. They say: 

"Your committee have ascertained, with reasonable 
certainty, that certain noblemen of Europe — principally 
Englishmen — have acquired and now own in the aggregate 
about 21,000,000 acres of land within the United States. 
We have not sufficient information to state the quantity 
owned by untitled aliens, nor is it so important, as it is 
generally held in smaller bodies. This alien non-resident 
ownership will, in the course of time, lead to a system of 
landlordism incompatible with the best interests and free 
institutions of the United States. The foundation of such 
a system is being laid broadly in the Western States and 
Territories. A considerable number of the immigrants 
annually arriving in this country are to become tenants 
and herdsmen on the vast possessions of these foreign 
lords, under contracts made and entered into before they 
sail for our shores. 

"The avarice and enterprise of European capitalists have 
caused them to invest in American railroads and land 
bonds, covering perhaps one hundred million acres, the 


great part of which, under foreclosure sales, will most 
likely before many years, become the property of these 
foreign bondholders, in addition to their present princely 
possessions. It is thus manifest that if the present large 
alien ownership is an evil, of which we have no doubt, the 
probabilities of the near future will still more imperatively 
demand legislation for its prevention. This aggressive 
foreign capital is not confined to lands it has purchased, 
but, overleaping its boundaries, has caused hundreds of 
miles of public domain to be fenced up for the grazing of 
vast herds of cattle and set at defiance the rights of the 
honest but humble settler. " 

The committee further report that Mr. Sculley, who 
resides in England and is a subject of the Queen, owns 
ninety thousand acres of land in the State of Illinois, occu- 
pied by hundreds of tenants, mostly ignorant foreigners, 
from whom he receives, as rent, $200,000 per annum, and 
expends it in Europe. The Scheuley estate, consisting of 
about two thousand acres within the city limits of Pitts 
burgh and Alleghany, from the rents of which the Scheu- 
leys, who are subject to the British Queen, draw annually 
not less than $100,000, is another remarkable instance. 
The committee then very pertinently remark that "No 
other Nation in the world allows the subjects of other Gov- 
ernments to acquire such possessions within its jurisdiction." 

The committee also state that "The tenth census shows 
that the United States have 570,000 tenant farmers, (it will 
doubtless reach 800,000 at the present time) the largest 
number possessed by any nation in the world, notwith- 
standing our polic3 r of giving homes to all natives and for- 
eigners who have declared their intention to become citizens 
if they will but reside upon the land for five years. 

"With the natural increase in population and the 500,000 
foreigners who flock to our shores annually, and by com- 
petition, are reducing the wages of labor, making the bat- 


tie of life harder to win, how, a few years hence, to provide 
homes for our poor people is a problem for the American 
statesman to solve. The multiplication of the owners 
of the soil is a corresponding enlargement of the 
number of patriots, and every landlord in this country 
should owe allegiance to the United States." 

This report was made by Mr. Oates, of Alabama, and is 
patriotic and statesmanlike throughout. 

In every state in the Union immense areas are held by 
single individuals, and worse still by corporations. 

In the state of Texas, vast tracts are held by single citi- 
zens, non-resident speculators and aliens, foreign syndi- 
cates and by various classes of speculative associations. 
The legislature of this State granted 3,000,000 acres of the 
finest pasture land within her borders to the Farwell Syn- 
dicate, of Chicago, in consideration that the latter should 
construct for the state of Texas a capitol building. Under 
the terms of annexation this State retained the title to her 
unoccupied lands. The most reckless prodigality has 
characterized the management of this priceless estate 
throughout the entire history of that commonwealth. The 
doors have been thrown wide open to every kind of fraud, 
spoliation and speculation. Following the example of the 
general Government, every land grabber in Christendom, 
foreign or domestic, was welcomed to her borders. 


Ex- Governor Coburn, of Maine, in 1887, owned in his 
own State, forty-five thousand acres, eighteen thousand in 
Michigan, thirty-five thousand in Wisconsin, eighteen 
thousand in Minnesota, thirty-five thousand in Dakota and 
one hundred and thirty-five thousand in Canada. His last 
purchase was thirty-five thousand acres from the Northern 
Pacific Railroad corporation, and Mr. Whipple, his land 


agent in Dakota, declared it was among the most fertile 
land in all the West. This is only one instance among 
hundreds of like enormity. 


The total amount of anthracite coal land in Penn- 
sylvania, is between two hundred and sixty thousand and 
two hundred and seventy thousand acres. Of this the 
Reading Coal and Iron Company owns ninety-five thou- 
sand acres; Central Railroad of New Jersey, fourteen thou- 
sand acres; Lehigh Valley Railroad, twenty-five thousand 
acres; Delaware, Lackawanna & Western, twenty thousand 
acres; Delaware & Hudson, twenty thousand acres; Penn- 
sylvania Coal Company, ten thousand acres; and the 
Pennsylvania Railroad, ten thousand acres. The remain- 
der is held by parties who are forced by transportation 
exactions to follow the lead of their more powerful neigh- 
bors and rivals. 

The capitalization of these companies and their allies 
is $500,000,000. Even the New York Legislature thought 
it was excessive. 


The anthracite combination consists of the Philadelphia 
& Reading Railroad Company, the Lehigh Valley Rail- 
road Company and the Lehigh Coal & Navigation Com- 
pany, the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad 
Company, the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, the Del- 
aware & Hudson Canal Company, the Pennsylvania Coal 
Company and the New York, Lake Erie & Western Rail- 
road Company. The companies are named in the order of 
their importance as coal miners and carriers. 

Two great combinations control the output of soft coal 
in Western Pennsylvania and Ohio. 



One of these pools is called the Buffalo Pool. It 
consists of the railroads which control all the products 
which come by way of Buffalo for a market — the Rochester 
and Pittsburg, the Buffalo, New York and Philadelphia 
and the Erie Railroad. They are named in the order of 
their importance as coal carriers. They bring the yield 
from the Western Pennsylvania coal fields. 

The other pool is known as the Ohio Pool, and it con- 
trols, as its name implies, the output from the Ohio fields. 
The syndicate consists of the four coal carrying roads which 
control the transportation from that section — the Hocking 
Valley, the Wheeling and Lake Erie, the Toledo and Ohio 
Central and the Panhandle division of the Pennsylvania 
syetem, naming them in the order of importance. 

These combinations in the soft coal regions are rapidly 
extending over all the known coal and iron fields of the 
country, and they are largely controlled by those who are 
prominent in Eastern pools. They extend also into the 
coal and iron fields of the South and West. In short, the 
curse is everywhere. 

The great coke industries are also controlled by power- 
ful combinations which have imported Hungarians and 
Poles in great numbers to compete with American labor. 
These cruel and barbarous combinations are responsible for 
the bloodshed, rioting and merciless evictions which are in 
progress as we pen these lines. (May, 1891.) 


About one-thirtieth part of the English people own two- 
thirds of the wealth of that nation. But the wealth of her 
mightiest citizens fall greatly below the average wealth of 
a score of Americans. Mr. Thomas G. Shearman has 
rendered the cause of liberty the world over, a most patri- 
otic service, by his startling contributions to the Forum Maga- 


zine for November, 1889, and January 1391, upon the 
distribution or rather concentration of wealth in England 
and America. 

The richest of the Rothchilds, and the great banker, 
Baron Overstone, each left an estate of $17,000,000. Earl 
Dudley, the great iron manufacturer, $20,000,000; the Duke 
of Baccleuch, 830,000,000; the Marquis of Bute, not to ex- 
ceed $10,000,000; the Duke of Norfolk, $40,000,000; the 
Duke of Westminster, $50,000,000. 

After but a partial examination of the field, mostly within 
the range of his personal observation, Mr. Shearman, in 
the papers named, gives a list of seventy names, none of 
whom possess less than $20,000,000; many of whom pos- 
sess above $100,000,000 and as high as $150,000,000, and 
their average wealth is $35,000,000. The total wealth of 
the seventy reaches the startling sum of $2,700,000,000. 
Mr. Shearman finds sixty-seven millionaires in Pittsburg, 
sixty- three in Cleveland, whose wealth aggregate $300,- 
000,000; sixty in three villages of New York, whose wealth 
sums up $500,000,000. One of the estimated parties de- 
clares that the calculation is too low and that $750,000,000 
would not be beyond the truth. Fifty families in Boston 
pay taxes on $1,000,000 each. And finally Mr. Shearman 
says that the annual income of one hundred of the richest 
Americans cannot fall short of $1,500,000 each; while the 
annual income of one hundred of the wealthiest English, 
men will not exceed $450,000 each. He finds that 250,000 
persons own three-fourths of the wealth of this country and 
that out of this number less than 40,000 families own fully 
one-half of the entire wealth, or 831,000,000,000. Upon 
careful examination of the field he is convinced that the 
number who own the $81, 000, 000, 000 can safely be reduced 
to 25,000 families. 


That born aristocrat, the Duke of Marlborough, in a 
recent paper contributed to the Fortnightly Review, not33 
the bold and aggressive power of the American plutocracy 
and speaks of "An irresponsible railway aristocracy far 
more dangerous in its ways than any aristocratic class that 
ever existed in England." 

Let us endeavor to grasp something of the significance 
of the above figures. The late war commenced in April, 
1861, and closed April, 1865, a period of four years, or 
1,460 days. The cost was about $3,000,000 per day, or 
$4,380,000,000 in the aggregate. A great part of this ex- 
penditure was due to the depreciation of our currency which 
was inflicted upon the people by the statutory exception 
touching its legal tender quality and which was inserted for 
the benefit of speculators. At the present price of supplies 
of all kinds, the seventy millionaires referred to by Mr. 
Shearman, with their $2,700,000,000 of wealth could main- 
tain an army in the field equal to the Union forces in the 
late war, for a period of four years and then emerge from 
the conflict out of debt and entirely solvent! The 250,600 
persons who own the $47,000,000,000, could equip and sup- 
port an army equal to the Union and Confederate forces in 
the late war combined, and for a period of four years, with 
an expenditure of less than one-fifth of their present accum- 
ulated wealth! We should bear in mind that these colossal 
fortunes have been accumulated since 1861, by men who 
started in moderate circumstances at the beginning of that 
period. With their immense accumulations of wealth and 
class laws still operating in their favor, what may they not 
accomplish within the next ten years? These colossal 
fortunes have no parallel in the annals of the world. Unless 
the causes which have produced them be speedily removed 
they foreshadow the utter destruction of republican institu- 


tions and the inauguration of another tragic era in the his- 
tory of civilization . 


A letter written by Mr. Jefferson to Mr. Madison, dated 
Fontainebleau, October 28, 1785, saj^s: 

"The property of this country (France) is absolutely con- 
centrated in a very few hands, having revenues of from 
half a million of guineas a year downward. These employ 
the flower of the country as servants, some of them having 
as many as two hundred domestics not laboring. They 
employ also a great number of manufacturers and trades- 
men, and lastly the class of laboring husbandmen; but after 
all these comes the most numerous of all the classes — that 
is, the poor who cannot find work. I asked myself what 
could be the reason that so many should be permitted to 
beg, who are willing to work, in a country where there is a 
very considerable portion of uncultivated lands. These 
lands are kept idle mostly for the sake of game. (They 
are after human game in America.) It should seem, then, 
that it must be because of the enormous wealth of the pro- 
prietors, which places them above attention to the increase 
of their revenues by permitting these lands to be labored. 
I am conscious that an equal division of property is im- 
practicable; but, the consequences of this enormous ine- 
quality producing so much miser} r to the bulk of mankind, 
legislators cannot invent too many devices for sub-dividing 
property, only taking care to let their sub-divisions go hand 
in hand with the natural affections of the human mind. 
The descent of property of every kind, therefore, to all the 
children, or to all the brothers and sisters or other relations 
in equal degree is a politic measure, and a practicable one. 
Another means of silently lessening the inequality of prop- 
erty is to exempt all from taxation below a certain point 
and to tax the higher portions of property in geometrical 
progression as they rise. Wherever there are in any 
country uncultivated lands and unemployed poor, it is clear 
that the laws of property have been so far extended as to 
violate natural right. The earth is given as a common 


stock for man to labor and live on; if, for the encourage- 
ment of industry we allow it to be appropriated, we must 
take care that other employment be furnished to those ex- 
cluded from the appropriation. If we do not, the funda- 
mental right to labor the earth returns to the unemployed. 
It is too soon yet in our country to say that every man who 
cannot find employment, but who can find uncultivated 
land shall be at liberty to cultivate it, paying a moderate 
rent; but it is not too soon to provide by every possible 
means that as few as possible shall be without a little por- 
tion of land. The small land-holders are the most precious 
part of the state." 

(See Bancroft's History of the Constitution. 463-4, Yol. 
1., Appendix.) 

Little did Mr. Jefferson, who was then our minister of 
the French Court, apprehend that within less than four 
years from the date at the head of his letter, there would 
burst forth from the very conditions which he was describ- 
ing to his friend Mr. Madison, the most tragic and cruel 
revolt known to the history of modern nations — the French 
Revolution. The deep but suppressed sense of injustice 
long suffered, rushed armed into the streets, surrounded 
the palaces, thronged the public assemblies and demanded 
expiation and atonement. Swarms of women and children 
surrounded places of public resort crying, "Bread! Give 
bread!" The sword had come and the guillotine was in 
waiting for its victims. America feels that she has safe- 
guards against such a catastrophe, but to be available they 
must be applied when the public mind is tranquil and free 
from the passion of revenge. 

According to the census reports of 1880, there were five 
hundred and thirty-nine million acres of cultivated land in 
the States and Territories of the United States. Let us 
estimate it at seven hundred millions at the present time. 
After careful inquiry and investigation we deem it a low 
estimate to say that two-thirds of these lands are under 


mortgage, paying such excessive tribute to the usurer, that 
after keeping up repairs, paying taxes and defraying the 
current expenses of families, there are no profits left. 
Usury has swallowed them up and in many cases leaves 
each year a deficit against the proprietor . Each farm is 
supporting two sets of proprietors, the nominal land owner 
and the mortgage owner. The man who holds the mort- 
gage really owns the land; only the equity of redemption 
and the right of occupancy remain with the mortgager. 

Now two-thirds of seven hundred million acres are 466,- 
666,666% acres, and this is precisely 729,1661 square miles, 
or an area of 142,6661 square miles greater, as we have 
seen, than the total tillable land in Italy Spain, Portugal, 
France, Germany, Great Britain and Ireland. This analy- 
sis shows that we are drifting towards ancient Roman and 
modern British conditions as a rudderless ship would drift 
before a howling hurricane . We are amazed and appalled 
as we contemplate the velocity at which we are traveling 
toward perilous times. Like a meteor falling through 
space we will ignite by sheer friction. And when we con- 
sider that onr unhappy condition has been reached in a 
single century, and practically during the last quarter of a 
century, it does not require the gift of prophecy to foretell 
what the end will be. If such results are normal and flow 
from legitimate and healthful iufluences, it becomes perti- 
nent to ask what are the peculiar advantages and safe- 
guards of republican institutions over monarchy or an 
aristocracy ? 

Providence has been bountiful with us. We have a fer- 
tile country blessed with a mild climate. We are eighteen 
times greater in area than the republic of France, while we 
have at present less than double her population. Our sup- 
ply of raw material is abundant, and our facilities for man- 
ufacturing without a parallel. We have every variety of 


climate with fruits and cereals ample to supply the wants 
of the world. By what evil genius are we controlled ? Is 
there some fell spirit at the helm determined to drive our 
bark upon the rocks ? We submit that it is the duty of the 
American people to immediately search out the causes of 
these conceded evils and this growing disconter.t; and we 
must apply, and apply quickly, the amplest remedies which 
good hearts. and wise heads can ,devise. 



This whole book could be devoted to the silver question 
— the history and use of silver among nations, ancient and 
modern, the relation which it bears to the commerce of our 
day and to the circulating media throughout Christendom; 
but such treatment of the subject is beyond the scope of 
this chapter and, as we think, unnecessary at the present 
stage of practical inquiry. We shall restrict ourselves to 
thoughts concerning the necessit}' and importance of its 
full reinstatement as money in our own country, the 
motives and influences which led to demonitization in Eng- 
land, Germany and the United States, and shall endeavor 
to answer some of the arguments, or to speak more accur- 
ately, the fallacies and sophistries now interposed to pre- 
vent the unrestricted coinage of the white metal. The 
remarkable stability which has always characterized the 
ratio between gold and silver will also be alluded to, and 
tables will be appended for the information of the reader, 
covering a period of nearly four thousand years. 

The Government of the United States is in its youth. 
Our resources of every description necessary to human 
comfort and advancement, are without a parallel. Our 
population, when compared with our inhabitable area and 
generous resources of soil, climate and products, is but 
meagre. With such surroundings as these it is right that 
we should look for happiness and contentment among the 


people. Instead, however, we find that discontent, debt 
and destitution exist throughout every state and territory 
in the Union. It is true that this condition of affairs does 
not extend to the whole population. But it is beyond 
dispute that it includes a very considerable portion of those 
who earn their living by manual labor. We find millions 
of people homeless and out of employment; millions more 
in danger of losing their homes, and still more millions 
working for wages scarcely sufficient to sustain life and 
respectabilhy and so meager as to shut out hope for the 
future. These things result neither from pestilence nor 
famine. The situation is full of the most aggravating 
contradictions. This destitution, low condition of wages, 
idleness, debt, and this homeless condition among so many 
people — all of these distressing things — exist along side of 
abundant crops, within sight of millions of acres of unoc- 
cupied land and in spite of the fact that three-fourths of 
our country is still in the rough, new, unfinished and sadly 
in need of labor. In spite of the fact that our products of 
food and raiment are ample to feed and clothe the world, 
the whole country is startled with the cry of destitution 
and poverty ! It is certainly the duty of statesmen, phil- 
osophers, philanthropists and christian people to search 
out the real causes of these distressing evils. And having 
ascertained the cause or causes, it is their duty to remove 
the sources of irritation if within the range of human 

With each recurring season the earth, taken as a whole, 
affords ample sustenance and to spare, for all animal life. 
It is evident that ages were spent in preparing the forests, 
minerals, fowls, fishes and beasts necessary for the con- 
venience of earth's noblest inhabitant — man. Those things 
which man could not provide and do for himself, were fur- 
nished ready made by his Creator, and man was enjoined 


to make use of these instrumentalities in tilling the earth 
and fashioning it into beauty. Next to the obligation to labor 
the earth lies the great duty of properly distributing its 
products. The importance of this latter consideration seems 
to be but just dawning upon mankind. 

Two things are essential to proper distribution. First, 
abundant circulating medium. Second, ample facilities 
for transportation, extending to every sub-division of the 
community and to the remote parts of the body politic. We 
shall here treat only of the first. The second will be 
reserved for another chapter. 

Old terms and phrases are prone to become trite and 
threadbare, but they did not come into general use without 
good reason. We have declared that the first essential to 
proper distribution is abundant circulating medium — ■ 
money. We do not mean plenty of idle money, nor money 
which is so scarce and hence so valuable that it can bring 
greater returns to its owner by being hoarded than by be- 
ing invested. We mean money that is abroad in the chan- 
nels of trade performing its legitimate office; money that 
works and not money that shirks. Idle money is more to 
be despised than idle men. The latter are often the 
result of the former. There is a compressed sermon 
capable of infinite expansion in Saint Paul's injunction to 
the Thessalonians, "that if any would not work neither 
shall he eat." An idler from choice is an intruder and a 
nuisance. He is asking for reward in return for injury in- 
flicted. We very properly call him worthless, and the 
longer he remains idle the less he is worth. Now money 
was invented to fill a certain office, to do a given work. If 
it will bring as much or more to its owner when locked up 
in vaults than it will when flowing in the channels of trade 
or invested in productive or distributive enterprise, it has 
simply ceased to be a benefactor and has become a scourge; 


it has been transformed into a robber and has turned dog- 
gedly upon society to plunder and destroy. When money 
ceases to work — to circnlate — the holders of it should not 
be rewarded for its idleness. They should suffer loss by 
reason of this idleness just as an individual suffers loss when 
he will not work. It is impossible for money ever to cir- 
culate with proper activity as long as it is so artificially 
scarce as to command a rate of interest equal to the average 
annual increase of wealth. Prudent, well-informed men 
cannot afford to borrow under such conditions. The value 
of a tool lies in its use. If the owner does not wish to use 
it himself, he cannot be justified in exacting nor the bor- 
rower in paying as much for its use as can be earned by the 
tool and the borrower combined. When money becomes 
so scarce as to command a rate of interest which is double 
such increase of wealth and even greater than this, as is the 
rule in this country to-day, and largely so throughout the 
world, nothing but the direst calamity, disarrangement and 
confusion can reasonably be expected. To paraphrase an 
expression once made use of by Daniel Webster, we are 
justified in asserting that as long as "the rich man's field is 
fertilized by the sweat of the poor man's face," labor will 
and should be discontented and the labor problem will 
remain unsolved. 


Senator John P. Jones, of Nevada, whom the writer 
believes to be the best equipped scholar and clearest thinker 
upon the money question to be found among all the men 
of the present age, in a recent speech delivered in the 
Senate, gave utterance to the following sage and compre- 
hensive remarks: 

"The demand for money is equivalent to the sum of the 
demands for all other things whatsoever, for it is through 


a demand first made on money that all the wants of man 
are satisfied. The demand for money is instant, constant, 
and unceasing and is always at a maximum. If any man 
wants a pair of shoes, or a suit of clothes, he does not 
make his demand first on the shoemaker, or clothier. No 
man except a beggar makes a demand directly for food, 
clothes, or any other article. Whether it be to obtain 
clothing, food or shelter — whether the simplest necessity 
or the greatest luxury of life — it is on money that the 
demand is first made. As this rule operates throughout 
the entire range of commodities it is manifest that the 
demand for money equals at least the united demands for 
all other things. 

"While population remains stationary, the demand for 
money will remain the same. As the demand for one 
article becomes less, the demand for some other which 
shall take its place becomes greater. The demand for 
money therefore must ever be as pressing and urgent as 
the needs of man are varied, incessant, and importunate. 


"Such being the demand for money, what is the supply? 
It is the total number of units of money in circulation 
(actual or potential) in any country. 

"The force of the demand for money operating against 
the supply is represented by the earnest, incessant struggle 
to obtain it. All men in trades and occupations, are offer- 
ing either property or services for money. Each shoe- 
maker in each locality is in competition with every other 
shoemaker in the same locality, each hatter is in competi- 
tion with every other hatter, each clothier with every other 
clothier, all offering their wares for units of money. In 
this universal and perpetual competition for money, that 
number of shoemakers that can supply the demand for 
shoes at the smallest average price (excellence of quality 
being taken into account) will fix the market value of shoes 
in money; and conversly, will fix the value of money in 
shoes. So with the hatters as to hats, so with the tailors 
as to clothes, and so with those engaged in all other occu- 
pations as to the products respectively of their labor. 



"The transcendent importance of money, and the con- 
stant pressure of the demand for it may be realized by 
comparing its utility with that of any other force that con- 
tributes to human welfare. 

"In all the broad range of articles that, in a state of 
civilization, are needed by man, the only absolutely indis- 
pensable thing is money. For everything else there is 
some substitute — some alternative; for money there is none. 
Among articles of food, if beef rise in price, the demand 
for it will diminish, as a certain proportion of tke people 
will resort to other forms of food. If, by reason of its 
continued scarcity, beef continue to rise, the demand will 
further diminish, until finally it may altogether cease and 
center on something else. So in the matter of clothing. 
If any one fabric becomes scarce, and consequently dear, the 
demand will diminish, and if the price continue rising, it is 
only a question of time for the demand to cease and be 
transferred to some alternative. 

' ' But this can not be the case with money. It can never 
be driven out of use. There is not, and there never can 
be, any substitute for it. It may become so scarce that 
one dollar at the end of a decade may buy ten times as 
much as at the beginning; that is to say, it may cost in 
labor or commodities ten times as much to get it, but at 
whatever cost the people must have it. Without money 
the demands of civilization could not be supplied." 

As population increases it is plain that there will be a 
proportionate increase in the demand for money. In 
estimating the increase necessary to keep pace with the 
increase of population, we must first ascertain whether 
there was an adequate supply of money at the period from 
which the increase of population is calculated. To illus- 
trate: If there was in 1880 an ample supply of corn and 
beef produced within the United Stares to supply the 
wants of our whole population, we can readily tell how 
much of these products will be required by our people in 


the year 1890, by first ascertaining what the increase of 
our population has been during the ten years. But let us 
suppose that there was a scarcity of these articles in 1880, 
In that event it is clear that the increase, in order to sup- 
ply our wants would have to be greater in proportion than 
the increase in population. This is as true when applied 
to the supply and necessary increase of money as when 
applied to an} r thing which money will buy. Therefore, in 
determining the quantity of money now necessary to be 
added to the present circulation, it is necessary to recur to 
some period in our history when our circulating medium 
was conceded to be ample to supply the demand. If this 
thought be lost sight of we are without solid data upon 
which to proceed . If the supply was inadequate to start 
with, the deficiency must first be made up before the nec- 
essary increase can be intelligently calculated. Legisla- 
tors and many writers upon finance seem to have lost sight 
of this practical business truth. If a law should be passed 
to-day making it the imperative duty of the Secretary of 
the Treasury to issue and place in circulation annually, an 
additional amount of money equal to the future estimated 
annual increase in population, the present depressed con- 
dition of business and trade would extend right along 
through future years. If the supply is inadequate now and 
the money should only be increased in equal amount per 
capita to meet the wants of the people who are hereafter to 
be added to our population, it would remain inadequate 

No intelligent person will deny that if the inhabitants of 
a country increase in numbers, the demand for all of the 
necessaries of life will proportionately increase. If the 
plane of living shall be materially advanced the demand 
for money may properly and normally increase much faster 
than the increase in population. If the wants of the peo- 


pie at a given period were properly supplied, and there has 
occurred since that time an increase in population equal, for 
example, to ten per cent., is it not clear that there is 
needed for consumption ten per cent, more of all the 
things necessary to human comfort? Senator Jones has 
just correctly taught us that to secure these things the de- 
mand must first be made on mone} r . Why then is it not 
clear that there should be ten per cent, more money ? Let 
us apply these plain principles of common business 
sense to the present financial situation in the United States. 
In order to do so it is, as before intimated, essential that 
we shall start with our population at a period when there 
was an ample supply of money in circulation, and then 
trace briefly the fiscal history of the country and the growth 
of population down to the present period. If the reader 
will take our arm for a few moments we will, in imagina- 
tion, forget the busy scenes of 1891, and shutting our ears 
to complaints from every quarter, take a stroll back to 
a period filled with sharp contrasts of joy and weeping, 
gladness and melancholy, and yet a day which was sweetly 
welcome to good people everywhere — to both victors and 

Reader, we are standing amid scenes more than twenty- 
five years agone — standing at the close of our fratricidal 
war. Do you recognize the surroundings ? Listen ! Can 
you not catch the clear note of the bugle singing its sweet 
concord of peace? Let us unloose our shoe-latchets, for 
we are upon sacred ground. 

We will now first take a census of the people and learn 
how many escaped the carnage of that fierce, unequal 

The information is easily obtained and is of the greatest 
significance. We find there were 25,000,000 people, in 
round numbers, residiDg in the Northern states at the close 


of the war, 1865. In the Southern states about 10,000,000. 
Total about 35,000,000. 

Let us next look into the economic situation at that time 
in these respective sections of the Union. In referring to 
the tables giving the prices of the various commodities 
which enter into daily consumption, we ascertain that the 
whole range of prices ruled high at that time. In the 
North the people were exceptionally prosperous notwith- 
standing the terrible strain of war. They were also free 
from debt, and this fact conspired to render the financial 
situation extremely felicitous. The Administration, through 
the Secretary of the Treasury, congratulated the country 
upon the foot that the people were "comparatively free 
from debt." No well informed person will dispute the fact 
that the whole circulating medium then in the United 
States was'confined in its circulation to the Northern States. 
The South was desolate, her people destitute and without 

It is highly important that we shall know how much 
money of the various kinds then in use, was in circulation 
among the 25,000,000 people at that period. To set this 
question at rest, we have selected a witness who is sharply 
at variance with the school of political economy to which 
the author of this book belongs — a gentleman who is too 
well informed to misquote the record and too cautious in 
his methods of expression to exaggerate the situation 
against himself. We refer to .Mr. John Jay Knox, late 
Comptroller of the Currency, whose ability and opportun- 
ities for information are surpassed by none. 

In a speech which he delivered before the Convention of 
the American Banker's Association, at Pittsburgh, Pa., 
October, 1887, Mr. Knox said: 

"About four vears after the warhad commenced, in Aug- 
ust, 1865, the public debt amounted to $2,845,907,426; and 



included in this huge mountain of indebtedness there were 
$1,540,000,000 of treasury notes, either payable on demand 
or bearing interest, of which more than $1,500,000,000 was 
a legal tender. If temporary loans, pa} 7 able in thirty days 
and certificates of indebtedness, payable one year after 
date, should be included with treasury notes, the whole 
would amount to considerably more than three-fifths of the 
$2,846,000,000 of the debt of the country. Of this debt 
there were $830,000,000 of legal tender seven-thirty notes, 
8217,000,000 of compound interest six per cent, legal ten- 
der notes, $27,000,000 of fractional currency and $433,000,- 
000 of demand legal tender notes. Proceedings of Con., 
pages 20-21. 

The suggestion of Mr. Knox, concerning temporary loans 
and certificates of indebtedness, payable one year after 
date, are pertinent and stamp his entire statement with 
fairness and accuracy. It is also suggestive to the business 
mind that they should be so included, inasmuch as they 
constituted a part of the circulating obligations of the 
Government. Now, three-fifths of the public debt ($2,845,- 
000,000) would give us, according to Mr. Knox, over 
$1,700,000,000, of various kinds of circulating Government 
paper currency, exclusive of National bank notes ($146,- 
000,000) solvent state bank paper ($58,000,000) being then 
ptill held by the people throughout the North; and exclusive 
also of $100,000,000 of gold and silver coin then in the 
country and whi:'h circulated to the extent at least of pay- 
ing customs duties and interest on the public debt. 

When these facts are understood, it is not hard to com- 
prehend why prosperity was so universal in the North at 
period under consideration. Two billions of money in use 
among 25,000,000 people would of course make them 

Let us now contrast the conditions of 1865 with the situ- 
ation at the present time. We have in 1892 in round 


numbers, 64,000,000 people. We are neither vexed by the 
scourge of pestilence nor the havoc of war, but are free 
from both. Whatever the amount of our circulating 
medium may be it is scattered throughout all our states and 
territories and is shared in some degree by every commu- 
nity in the land. How much have we ? Let the Secretary 
of the Treasury answer, in the first instance, and then we 
will mention some things which are left out in the Secre- 
tary's calculation . In his statement sent out January 1, 
1392, this officer said we had at that time — exclusive of 
various kinds of money then locked in the treasury — 
$1, 588,781,729. This is about $400,000,000 less than the 
people of the Northern states held a quarter of a century 

Now what is the situation revealed ? The answer is 
startling. Twenty-seven years ago 25,000,000 people all 
t;old, were employing in their current business about 
$2,000,000,000 of various forms of money. To-day, 64,- 
000,000 people are restricted bylaw and bank manipulators 
to the use of $1,588,000,000 ! Our money-using popula- 
tion, it will be seen, has increased one hundred and fifty 
per cent since 1865, while our money has decreased, 
according to the Secretary's own showing, twenty per cent! 
This is the most stupendous crime of the age. The money 
using population having increased one hundred and fifty 
per cen f , has not the demand for all things necessary to 
their comfort also increased in the same ratio? As the con- 
dition of our internal trade is not one of barter, and in 
order to procure these comforts, demand must first be 
made upon money, who will be heard to say that the de- 
mand for money has not increased one hundred and fifty 
per cent also? Does the reader comprehend the magni- 
tude of the unutterable wrong which has been committed 
against the poopie of this country ? And has he opened his 


eyes to the gbastliness of the picture \ Do we realize that 
these 39,000,000 people all need money as sorely as the 
25,000,000 did at the close of the war, and yet that not one 
dollar has been provided for them? That on the contrary, 
the sum total of the money in use a quarter of a century 
ago has been reduced twenty per cent? These 39,000,000 
have entered society as competitors along with the 25,000.- 
000 who were here before them, for the little money that 
is left in circulation. Is it any wonder that money has 
become valuable and hard to get — too valuable to be 
employed in legitimate business and fit only to enable its 
owner to drive hard and unconscionable bargains ? 

The foregoing observations explain the universal condi- 
tion of debt which to-day is cursing the whole country with 
blight and mildew, driving independence, thrift and hope 
from the abodes of our people. 

But some captious or conscientious critic may insist that 
Mr. Knox has overestimated the amount of money in cir- 
culation at the close of the war. That the 8830,000,000 of 
seven-thirties, should be excluded which would reduce the 
amount in circulation to say $1,200,000,000. We shall 
examine that claim further on. For the present let us 
suppose that the criticism is well founded. How would 
the account then stand ? This would still leave in circula- 
tion $48 per capita for the 25,000,000 people using the 
money at the close of the war, while to-day, the Secretary 
only claims that we have 81,588,781,729, or about $25 per 
capita for the present population. Thus we see that tak- 
ing our critic upon his own grounds, we have only a little 
over half as much money to the individual as we had a 
quarter of a century ago. It is unreasonable to look for 
industrial and business prosperity under such conditions. 
Every faculty of the well-informed mind and all the in- 



Gtincts of human nature conspire to demand the application 
of some adequate remedy to this alarming situation. 

But the seven-thirties should not, nor can they properly 
be excluded in estimating the amount of currency in circu- 
lation at the close of the war. . This will conclusively 
appear from the following considerations: 

1. They were ' 'treasury notes, " and were so denominated 
in the law. (See Act June 30, 1864, and Act March 3, 
1865.) They were issued "in lieu" of bonds and made 
legal tender at their face value, exclusive of interest, and 
could be paid to any creditor willing to receive them at 
par, including interest. (See 2 Act June 30, 1864, Revised 
Statute, Sec. 3590.) These notes were gladly received by 
all classes of people. They were paid to the army by 
Government pay-masters and went to swell the volume of 
our currency. Secretary Fessenden, in his report to Con 
gress, December 6, 1864, page 206, epeaks of the effort 
which he had made to raise funds to pay the amount "'due 
our brave soldiers" and says: 

"More fully to accomplish his purpose, the Secretary 
resolved to avail himself of a wish expressed by many 
officers and soldiers, through the pay-masters, and offered 
to such as desired to receive them, sevei-thirty notes, of 
small denominations. He was gratified that these notes 
were readily taken in payment to a large amount, our gal- 
lant soldiers, in many instances, not only receiving them 
with alacrity, but expressing their satisfaction at being able 
to aid their country by loaning money to the Government. " 

Again, on page 209 of the same report, Secretary Fes- 
senden further says: "The seven and three-tenths notes 
authorized by the act of June 30, 1864, and now offered to 
the public, present as many advantages as any form of 
currency security, uniting a high rate of interest with con" 
vertibility. " 


Secretary McCulloch in his report on the finances, De- 
cember 4, 1865, page 184, states that maney of the seven 
and three-tenth notes of small denominations were in 
circulation as money, and that the whole issue, $830,000,000 
tended to swell the inflation. He further states in the same 
report that these notes were distributed in every part of 
the country. They were issued in three series dated 
August 15, 1864, June 15, 1865 and July 15, 1865. Forty- 
four millions were in denominations of fifty dollars; one 
hundred and thirty-seven millions, in one hundred; two 
hundred and twenty-eight millions, in five hundreds; three 
hundred and seventy millions in one thousands; and about 
fifty millions in five thousands. They were payable, 
principal and interest, in lawful money, and it was so 
plainly stated on the face of the notes. 

Mr. John Jay Knox in his work entitled " United States 
Notes" and published in 1885, on page 85, gives the fol- 
lowing table of the various kinds of currency obligations 
outstanding August 31, 1865: 

United States legal tender notes $ 433,160,569.00 

Compound interest legal tender notes.... 217,024,160.00 

Five per cent legal tender notes 33,954,230.00 

Seven-thirty notes 830,000,000.00 

Fractional currency 26,344,742.51 

Temporary loans 107,148,713.16 

Certificates of indebtedness 85,093,000.00 

Total $1,732,725,414.67 

When we add the National bank notes, the State bank 
notes still in circulation, and the available specie then in 
country and which had a qualified use, we again reach the 
grand total of about two billions of dollars of circulating 
medium as before stated in this chapter. 

Where these notes were not paid to soldiers, they were 
paid out as we have abundantly demonstrated, in current 


Government business and thus found their way into the 
channels of trade. The fact that they were drawing seven 
and three-tenths per cent interest caused them to rapidly 
pass into the hands of capitalists, but in doing so they dis- 
placed other forms of currency which passed back to the 
people, while the moneyed classes used the interest bear- 
ing notes in financial circles. 


We have not yet seen the picture in all of its astonishing 
and appalling outlines. We assert that the statement of 
the President of the United States made in his annual mes- 
sage to Congress, December, 1891, that we had then in cir- 
culation, outside of the money retained in the Treasury, 
$1,578,262,070, and the statement of the Secretary, January 
1, 1892, that we had at that time $1,588,000,000 are inac- 
curate and misleading in the extreme. The people want 
to know how much of this money is in actual circulation or 
available for that purpose, and are not asking for an exhi- 
bition of book-keeping. If any portion of it is not in cir- 
culation, inasmuch as it is their own money, they are 
entitled to know just where it is and who has it in keeping. 

If the money is circulating actively they want to know 
it; if it is stagnant and withheld either by law or the voli- 
tion of those who are handling it, they wish to know the 
exact situation. They will search in vain for such infor- 
mation in the President's message or the Secretary's 

In estimating the amount of money in circulation at the 
date of the statements, it is safe to rely upon our officials 
for one fact only — the amount of money in the country out- 
side of the treasury, as shown by the books — nothing 
more. We must deduct for ourselves, the amount lost, de- 
stroyed and worn out during the past twenty-eight years, 


the amount hoarded, and the amount held as reserve by 
the great multitude of banks, in order to get at the real 
monetary situation. When these items are considered, the 
$1,588,000,000 will be greatly reduced. The following is 
believed to be a fair estimate, but is entirely overlooked by 
the Secretary. 

According to Foster, we have . .$1,588,781,729 

Deduct, paper money lost, destroyed and 

worn out in twenty-eight years, say 50,000,000 

Hoarded— low estimate 25,000,000 

Held as reserves by National Banks — see Comp- 
troller's Report, 1889, page 51 460,000,000 

Held as reserves by private banks — estimated 250,000,000 

Total $ 785,000,000 

Balance in circulation among our 64,000,000 
people and available for daily business trans- 
actions 803,781,729 

The reader must bear in mind that it is the total amount 
of- currency available in the daily current of business that 
must be considered, rather than the total amount held in 
the country. 

The above calculation is more liberal than the statement 
made by the Hon. Preston B. Plumb, delivered in the Sen- 
ate of the United States, during the first session of the 
Fifty-first Congress. 

Mr. R. M. Widney, President of a National bank at Los 
Angeles, California, made the following startling, and yet 
upon examination, we find to be very liberal statements, in 
a speech which he recently delivered before a banker's con- 
vention in that state: 

"The total amount owing by all the banking institutions 
of the United States, (8,055) to depositors in July, 1890, 
was $4,603,844,157. 

Total cash in in all of these banks at the same date was: 


Gold coin $ 99,811,011 

Silver, nickels, foreign coin, etc 28,811,478 

Paper money 349,694,405 

Total $478,316,694 

"Only a fraction over ten cents on the dollar on hand tc 
pay the depositors on demand! 

"If gold were the only legal tender, there would be on 
hand about two cents on the dollar for depositors ! 

"Or, if gold and silver were combined it would give less 
than three cents on the dollar! 

"By using gold, silver and coin certificates on the treasury 
of the United States, there would be only about five cents 
on the dollar in cash for depositors! 

"At the same date these banks had loaned out to the 
people, 83,893,851,799. 

"There were then about $957,716,21S (he makes this item 
too large) scattered in the hands of 61,000.000 people. 

"This represents only about twenty-five cents on the dol- 
lar for the people to pay on their loans, to the banks alone. 
But most of the outstanding money is in the hands of par- 
ties not debtors to the banks. It may be safely estimated 
that the people could not pay the banks ten cents on the 
dollar in cash, neither could the banks pay over ten cents 
on the dollar to depositors." 

These statements of Mr. Widney are all justified by 
official data. The banks pa} r no interest to depositors, as 
a rule, but those who borrow from the banks pay interest 
in advance in almost every instance. Do not these fig- 
ures, being beyond dispute, reveal a most phenomenal, 
absurd and startling business situation ? They prove that 
the banks have loaned out to the people more than 
twice as much money as the Secretary says is in circulation, 
and nearly five times as much as our own estimate, 
given above, shows to be actually in the channels of trade! 
More still — they establish the fact that the banks are 
indebted to depositors about three times as much money 
as the books of the Treasury show can possibly be at 


their command. Still more — the reader must remember 
that these figures relate only to the reciprocal transactions 
between the people and the banks, and do not include the 
great and almost illimitable volume of business constantly 
occurring in daily life, with which the banks have nothing 
to do. 

In view of these facts, which are beyond contradiction, 
the conclusion is irresistible that the whole country has 
been reduced to the servitude of debt. We have reached 
the fatal condition where credit is substituted for money 
to an extent which makes the capitalist and the usurer the 
masters of society. The yoke is galling and exceedingly 
hard to cast off. Nations before our day have tried to free 
themselves from the curse and failed. 

The increase of our population, the consequent demands 
of business and the increased volume of trade imperatively 
demand an increase in our circulating medium. There is 
no hope without it. The exactions of creditors and 
usurers are bringing labor deeper and deeper into debt 
from year to year. 

We have demonstrated that there is a distressing scarcity 
of money, and this demonstrates the necessity for the full 
reinstatement of silver as one of the money metals. 

It is admitted that gold cannot be obtained to meet the 
emergency. Why not supply the deficiency, as far as 
possible, with silver coin? If we should coin all that we 
can by any possibility reach, it would be like a widow's 
mite cast into the great charity collection of the world. 

The gold and silver product of the world for the past 
five hundred years is estimated by the very best authority 
as follows: 

Gold $ 7,240,000,000 

Silver 7,435,000,000 

Total $14,675,000,000 


Of this sum there is supposed to be in existence to-day in 
the whole world consisting of coin, bullion and plate, a 
little over ten billions. 

The production of silver in the world for 1888, the latest 
reliable data — was 125,830,000 fine ounces. Its market 
value with the law against it, was $117,651,000. Coining 
value $162,680,000- The world's product of gold for the 
same year was 8118,800,000. 

The UDited States, as stated by the Director of the mint, 
produced 50,000,000 fine ounces out of the 117,651,000 
produced throughout the earth. 

The annual consumption of silver in the arts in 
the United States, is estimated by the Director 
of the mint, to be $ 8,760,000 

In the rest of the world 8,840,000 

Total annual consumption $17,600,000 

The annual consumption of gold for the same purpose 
throughout the world, according to various mint reports, 
ranges from $30,000,000 to $46,000,000 or an average of 
about one- third of the world's annual product. 

The use of silver is not experimental. It has been used 
as money without detriment from the twilight of history 
down to the present effulgent era of human advancement. 
It has had the sanction of all the great names of history 
— from Abraham, of Ur, of the Chaldees, to Abraham 
Lincoln, of our own day. 


There was no pretense that difficulty existed in maintain- 
ing the relative value of the two metals, at the established 
ratio of 15i to 1 in Europe and 16 to 1 in America. An 
examination of the price tables prior to 1873, convinced 
the wealthy and aristocratic classes in the old world, and 
those who desired to pattern after them in this, that the 


value of their annuities, salaries and fixed incomes, were 
diminishing in purchasing power. They also saw that the 
spirit of independence and self-reliance among the people, 
those sturdy virtues which always lead in human advance- 
ment — were increasing in the same ratio with the accumu- 
lation of property among the masses. In the perverted 
judgment of these plutocrats, scarcity of money would 
remedy both difficulties. It would increase the value of 
their fixed incomes and choke out the rising ambition of 
the people. Accordingly monetary commissions were ap- 
pointed by the various European governments to inquire 
into the situation. 

In the French report of 1869, the arguments on both 
sides were clearly set forth. The official resume of the 
commission gives them in full. In behalf of a single gold 
standard it was said: 

"The rise in price which has taken place within twenty 
years in a great number of articles of merchandise is evi- 
dently due to many causes, such as war, bad harvests and 
increase in consumption; but it is very probable that the 
depreciation of the precious metals has contributed to it 
since there has been a striking coincidence between the rise 
of prices and the production of the new mines of gold and 
silver. The annual production of the two metals, which 
was only $80,000,000 in 1847, now exceeds §200,000,000. 
It has nearly tripled, and it is to see that the real value of 
metals has diminished. It is difficult to estimate exactly 
what the diminution is, but whatever it may be it demands 
the attention of Governments, because it affects unfavorably 
all that portion of the population whose income, remaining 
nominally the same, undergoes a yearly diminution of pur- 
chasing power. As Governments control the weight and 
standard of money, they ought so far as possible to assure 
its value . And as it is admitted that the tendency of the 
metals is to depreciate, this tendency should be arrested by 
demonetizing one of them. 

In behalf of the double standard it was replied as follows: 


"Many economists argue that the precious metals hav- 
ing become very abundant, have lost 10 or 15 per cent of 
their value, and that the situation must be redressed by 
making money scarcer by demonetizing silver. To this it 
may be answered that the great discoveries of gold of the 
last twenty years have injured nobody. The new mass of 
gold, spreading over the whole world, has found emplo}'- 
ment in stimulating all forms of business, and as a conse- 
quence, the value of gold has fallen veiy little. According 
to Mr. ^Newmarch, the mass of gold and silver has aug- 
mented 3 per cent per annnm, while the mass of exchanges 
has augmented more than 3 per cent per annum, so that the 
equilibrium has been .maintained. And the present is an 
especially iu opportune time to demonetize silver, because 
the annual production of gold has been falling off for sev- 
eral years. It was 8200,000,000 in 1853, and it is now not 
more than $140,000,000. What will happen to the civilized 
world if silver is demonetized and if gold shall then fail ?" 


England demonetized silver June 22, 1816. The law in 
force prior to that date, 18 Chas., 2, C. 5, allowed free coin- 
age of both metals without charge. The act of 1816, 
which struck down silver, was passed at a time when Eng- 
land was without either gold or silver and was using paper 
money exclusively — that money with which she had just 
successfully fought the Napoleonic wars. But her states- 
men, who always rule in the interests of the nobility and 
the wealthy classes, were then preparing to reach specie 
payments only three years ahead. 

Lord Liverpool procured the passage of the law of 1816 
which secured the single gold standard in that country. 
It was intended to put a stop to the unexampled prosperity 
of the people which had resulted from an abundant legal 
tender currency. This act supplemented by the act to 
resume specie payments, forced the people of Britain back 
to a restricted gold currency. Abundant paper money had 


not only enabled Great Britain to overthrow Napoleon, 
but it had made her the "work shop of the world," and 
hence the great creditor Nation of the earth. Scarce and 
dear money, her statesmen understood, would force down 
wages at home and cheapen the price of her manufactures. 
This would make her the market of the nations and those 
who dealt with her would become borrowers while she 
would be the lender. 

Fortunately we are not left in doubt concerning this. 
The royal commission appointed by England in 1886 to 
inquire into the relative value of the two metals expressly 
state (P. 90, Part 2, Section 128): 

" It must be remembered, too, that this country is largely 
a creditor country, of debts payable in gold, and any 
change which entails a rise in the price of commodities 
generally, that is to say, a diminution of the purchasing 
power of gold would be to our disadvantage." 

In a speech delivered by Sir L. Playfair, in Parliament, 
April 1890, the following open avowal was made:- 

"The true policy of England as the chief creditor Nation 
of the world was to keep perfect independence, and to 
refuse participation in any entangling conference on our 
monetary system." 

How sorely the English people are pressed for circulat- 
ing medium under the exclusive gold basis, will fully 
appear from the following statement made by Playfair in 
the same speech: 

"The liabilities of the banks of Great Britain to the 
public amounted to £621,000,000, or about the amount of 
the National debt of England; but the amount of coin or 
bullion to meet this liability was only £35,000,000; or de- 
ducting from each side of the account £8,000,000 locked 
up in the Notes Department of the Bank of England, it 
was £27,000,000; or only 4£ per cent of liabilities." 


The same motives actuated Germany in her cruel crusade 
against silver in 1S71-3. It was in the interest of that por- 
tion of her people who had fixed incomes, and further to 
avenge herself upon France. But the blow fell upon her 
own head. Times grew to be so hard in Germany, immed- 
iately after she struck down her silver, that 1,546,000 per- 
sons emigrated from that country between the years 1873 
and 1889, while illegitimacy and suicides increased at a 
fearful ratio during the same period. 


In 1867, the international conference was held in Paris. 
Samuel B. Ruggles, a member of the New York Chamber 
of Commerce, was a delegate to that conference. Mr. 
John Sherman, then Chairman of the Senate Finance com- 
mittee, was in Paris at the same time though he did not at- 
tend the conference in person. On the 17th of May, the 
conference considered the "possibility of a common unit of 
money." Mr. Sherman's views in favor of a single gold 
standard were submitted to the conference by Mr. Kuggles. 
Mr. Sherman was not accredited to that conference by the 
people of the United States, nor had he any right whatever 
to represent them there. For what purpose was he in Paris? 
The war was just over and his statesmanship was needed at 
home to build up the broken fragments of the union and to 
restore tranquility to society. 

One year from the date of this visit to Paris, Mr. Sher- 
man made a report to the Senate in favor of "A single 
standard exclusively of gold." 

In the same year he also introduced Senate Bill 217, to 
establish a single standard ''exclusively of gold," and pro- 
viding also for the coinage of subsidiary silver on Govern- 
ment account. When we consider that we were then upon 
an exclusive paper basis, and that we were without gold, 


and in fact, have never had from that day to the present, 
one-third enough gold to transact the business of the 
country, this is an astounding piece of history. 

The act of 1873, which finally demonetized silver, origi- 
nated, as stated by Mr. Kelley in the House, with the Treas- 
ury department. It was engineered through the Senate 
by Mr. Sherman and through the House by Mr. Hooper, 
of Massachussets. The bill contains sixty-eight sections 
and had a deceptive title — "A bill revising the laws relating 
to mints, assay offices and coinage of the Uuited States." 
It contained provisions which no party had ever declared 
in favor of, which had never been discussed in the public 
prints, concerning which the people were wholly unin- 
formed., and yet a bill affecting directly the welfare of 
every inhabitant of the republic. It went through the two 
houses like a thief in the night, making just enough noise 
to arouse the inmates if they had been awake, and yet not 
enough to attract the attention of those who were dull of 
hearing and unduly given to slumber. 

While the bill was pending in the House, April 19, 1872, 
Mr. Hooper, who seems to have had control of it, said: 

"The bill was prepared two years ago and has been sub- 
mitted to careful and deliberate examination. It has the 
approval of nearly all the mint experts of the country and 
sanction of the Secretary of the Treasury. Ernest Seyd, 
of London, a distinguished writer and bullionist, is now here 
and has given great attention to the subject of mints and 
coinage, after examining the first draughts of this bill made 
various sensible suggestions which the committee accepted 
and embodied in the bill. While the committee take no 
credit to themselves for the original preparation of this 
bill, they have given it the most careful consideration and 
have no hesitation in unanimously recommending its pas- 
sage as necessary and expedient." 

The character of Mr. Seyd's "sensible suggestions which 
the committee accepted and embodied in the bill," may be 


understood from the following, which we take from the 
masterly speech of Senator Daniel, of Virginia, delivered 
in the United States Senate, May 21, 1890, page 5438. 

"I take from the Bankers' Magazine of August, 1873, a 
little extract. It says: 

"In 1^7^, silver being demonetized in Germany, Eng- 
land and Holland, a capital £100,000 ($500,000) was raised, 
and Ernest Seyd, of London, was sent to this country with 
this fund as the agent of foreign bondholders to effect the 
same object." 

"This is from one of the most respectable organs of the 
money interest of the United States, and it announces the 
fact that England and Holland furnished a fund of half a 
million dollars and sent an emissary over to America to 
procure a result which was effected in the manner stated." 

The character of the suggestions made by Mr. Seyd 
which were not "included in the bill" can readily be con- 

Such are some of the disgraceful incidents connected 
with the demonetization of silver in this country. Much 
more can and should be told, but to do so would carry us 
beyond the purpose of this chapter. The most wonderful 
consideration in connection with the whole matter is that 
the suffering people have never as yet properly rebuked 
the criminals who perpetrated the outrage nor suitably 
avenged the crime. 

The country is familiar with the struggle to reinstate 
silver, and they are aware of the uniform hostility of every 
administration to the faithful enforcement of the act of 
February 12, 1878. This act provided for the coinage of 
not less than two million dollars worth of silver bullion 
per month and not more than four million dollars worth. 
The country is aware that the Secretary has uniformly 
coined the minimum instead of the maximum contemplated 
by the law. 



So much of this act as required the Secretary to pur- 
chase and coin the bullion was repealed by the Fifty-first 
Congress, and another act was substituted which empowers 
the Secretary to purchase 4,500.000 ounces of pure silver 
per month, paying therefor in Treasury notes issued for the 
purpose, and redeemable upon presentation in coin. After 
July 1, 1891, the Secretary is clothed with discretion to 
coin or not to coin the bullion purchased, as he may 
determine. Under this law he is an absolute monarch con- 
cerning the coinage of silver, and an unfriendly one at 
that. Congress and -the people have abdicated in his be- 
half. He is now exercising his discretion, just as it was 
expected he would, against the people. 


It will be seen that the present silver law provides for 
the purchase of about the entire present annual output of 
American silver, and yet its effect upon current business 
is scarcely discernable. After deducting the amount 
annually consumed in the arts in our own country, the 
American mines cannot more than meet the demands of 
the law. 

One of the statements constantly urged to deter the 
American people from fully remonetizing the white metal 
is, that we shall be flooded with silver; that the circulating 
medium would be unduly inflated with cheap money and 
gold would depart from us. The following extract which 
we take from the able speech of Senator Jones, before 
referred to, covers this point with such clearness that we 
cannot refrain from inserting it here: 


"We are told that if silver is given free access to the 
mints we shall be flooded with it from all parts of the 


world. Does anybocty show where the flood of silver is to 
come from? Where are the reservoirs that contain it? 
Not in England, where it is difficult for the people even to 
get a sufficiency of it for small change to transact the busi- 
ness of the country; not in Germany, where the scarcity 
of money was so pressing that the Government had to 
abandon the idea of selling silver. Though the stock in 
France is large her people will never give it up. Silver 
has been the "shield and buckler" of the French Republic. 
All she has is coined at the ratio of fifteen and one-half 
ounces of silver to one of gold, and its shipment to this 
country would involve a loss to France, not only of the 
three per cent difference between the French relation (15i 
to 1) and ours (which is 16 to 1), but of three per cent ad- 
ditional in the cost of gathering and shipping it. And 
after that could only exchange them for Treasury notes. 
The silver stock in India and the Orient is performing 
indispensable duty as money, and no "flood" of it can be 
expected from that quarter. From time immemorial India 
has been absorbing all the surplus silver of the world. 
She has never got so much as to appease her appetite for 
more. So insatiable is her desire for that metal that she 
has long known as the "Sink of Silver." China has not a 
piece of the metal that she can dispose of. Mexico has no 
stock whatever of silver on hand, except the limited num- 
ber of coined pieces forming her moderate money circula- 
tion, and not a dollar of it can be spared. No country of 
Central or South America has any surplus silver. Every 
piece of coined silver in every country in the world is part 
of the monetary circulation of that country, and even when 
of short weight and classified as a mere "token" is passing 
at par a full valued money. No gain could possibly ac- 
crue, therefore, to the owners of coined silver anywhere by 
shipping it to this country for any purpose, and there is no 
surplus stock of bullion anywhere. 

"If anybody doubts this statement let him make the 
attempt in all the money centers of the world to buy from 
accumulated stock even 15,000,000 worth of it. He will 
fail to get it in London, Paris, Berlin, Calcutta, New York, 
or San Francisco, or in all combined. There is no source 
from which to get silver except the current supply from 


the mines, and whatever that is now it is not likely ever 
greatly to increase. The occupation of mining is not at- 
tractive to many, and in the nature of the case the number 
who follow it will always be comparatively few. The 
Argonauts of old were but a small band of hardy adven- 
turers; those of the new era are destined to bear no larger 
proportion to the population. But even were this not so, 
nature herself draws the line. To the eye of the exper- 
ienced prospector silver mines are as discernable on the 
surface of the earth as are mountains, and the world has 
been explored in vain for further "finds." Those who 
talk, therefore, of "floods" of silver coming here for coin- 
age simply show their ignorance of existing conditions." 

But the advocates of the exclusive coinage of gold con- 
stantly assert that the silver dollar is under value — is a 
" cheap dollar." It was not " cheap " when it was demon- 
etized and would not be again if reinstated. It was three 
per cent premium over gold as the subjoined tables will 
prove. Its bullion value is less than its coined value for 
the simple reason that it is stricken down by law — stricken 
down by a lot of business assassins who wish to accumulate 
wealth by improper methods. 

Driven from this field, the enemies of silver declare 
vehemently that free coinage is in the interest of bullion 
owners; that it would be equivalent to a gift to bullion 
holders equal to the difference between the bullion value 
and the coin value of the metal. This we den}*. 

When the owner of bullion takes it to the mint and has 
it coined into dollars, the burden is then upon him to spend 
it. This will increase the amount of money in circulation, 
and this in turn will stimulate the price of everything on 
the market. When the holder of the new coin undertakes 
to purchase labor and supplies he will find that the prices 
of these commodities haye advanced also; and so the 
laborer and producer will take the lion's share of the value 


which has been added to silver by its coinage. The laws 
of trade are equitable if allowed to operate normally. 


From the Argonaut, September 1, 1890. 

"Under this heading the London Economist of August 16, 
publishes a letter from Ottoraar Haupt, dated Paris, August 
14, 1890. As M. Haupt is acknowledged to be one of the 
best authorities in Europe in monetary statistics and finan- 
cial affairs, his figures of the past can be relied upon, how- 
ever we might regard his speculations in the future. 

"The letter is some two columns in length, but I shall only 
give the first and a portion of the closing paragraphs. I 
have transposed his kilograms into ounces, as more familiar 
to us of America: 

"At the present moment when the new American silver 
bill comes into force, and when consequently a fresh pros- 
pect opens itself to the whole silver question, it is of great 
importance to inquire what the future of the white metal 
will be — of course the near future only, as in the course of 
time events may present themselves which may once more 
adversely influence the current of things as viewed from a 
standpoint based upon the experience of the day. 

"This is the way in which I estimate the yearly absorp- 
tion of the white metal for, say, three or four years to come. 

Countries. Ounces Fine Silver. 

United States 54,000,000 

India 41.600,000 

China *. 12,800,000 

Japan 7,680,000 

Cochin, China 640,000 

Straits Settlements 3.200,000 

England and Colonies 3,200,000 

Austria 3,840,000 

Servia and Bulgaria 1,920,000 

Balance remaining in Mexico 1,600,000 

Estimated consumption in the arts, etc 17,600,000 


"In other words, about 150,000,000 ounces of fine silver 
will have to be bought in some way or other in the different 


markets of the world, and, so far, no other source is left 
open for that purpose than the actual production of the 

"At any rate, neither will Germany sell any more of her 
silver thalers, nor Italy her demonetized Bourbonian pias- 
tres. As regards the other countries, none will move in the 
silver question. Their .coins of the five- francs type repre- 
sent the metal in the market at much above 61 pence per 
ounce standard. The American mint price works out at 
$1.29, equal to 59 pence; to-day (August 14) we are about 
51 pence. Who will sell with such prospect before him ? 

"A given quantity of say 150,000,000 ounces of fine sil- 
ver is required every year in the near future. What will be 
the production of the metal available in the market? Why, 
according to the best statistics published, all the mines of 
the world did not produce more than 76,000,000 ounces in 
1887, 110,000,000 in 1888, and 125, 000, 000 in 1889. Where 
is the balance of say 16,000,000 to come from? 

"While on the subject it may be of interest to give the 
amount of gold and silver in the great National depositories 
of Europe at latest date (August 21, 1890), according to the 
Financial Chronicle of New York, August 23: 

Bank of Gold. Silver. 

England £22,653,225 

France 52,668,000 £50,757,000 

Germany 27,512,667 13,756,333 

Austria Hungary 4,475,000 16,536,000 

Netherlands 4,808,000 5,358,000 

Belgium 2,823,000 1,412,000 

"Probably about all of this gold and silver in the different 
banks is coined money, most of which has been in use. 

"I have in this article given the figures of production and 
absorption as agreed upon by those who are considered the 
most capable of rendering them. It is for others to proph- 
esy what shall be the future, but it certainly looks as though 
the prospect for "the white metal" was very flattering." 

Thus it is seen that the apprehension of a disastrous 
influx of silver is unwarranted and silly. It is excited by 
interested parties and is without a single fact in the finan- 
cial world to support it. The quanity of gold in the United 


States is but trifling. If every dollar of it should be dis- 
placed by silver the change would never be felt or noticed 
by the people except for the better. Once here, silver 
would remain with us like our greenbacks, constituting a 
part of our home currency and would perform some of the 
money work of the country which the sluggard gold refuses 
to do. 

If foreign silver comes hither, will it be thrown into our 
lap as a gift, or will it, if it comes at all, come to paj^ for 
our wares and our produce? If coined at our mints and 
expended among our people, we want to know, with all 
candor, who is going to be injured? 


Another argument constantly made use of by the advo- 
cates of the single gold standard is that without gold we 
can not carry on our trade with foreign countries. 

This country now produces nearly everything which it 
consumes; and the balance of trade for about fifteen years 
has been largely in our favor; aDd when we consider the 
energy of our people, the character of our country and the 
variety of its products, it is clear that this state of affairs 
will increase rather than diminish — particularly as between 
this and gold using countries. 

But nations, as a rule, buy what they want with their 
own products. There can be nothing at any time but a 
temporary balance' to be paid in bullion, and this can 
always be met by the yield from our own mines. No 
country has ever experienced any difficulty in carrying on 
its foreign trade on account of the character of its money 
system . England found no difficulty during her twenty- 
five 3 r ears of specie suspension, nor did the United States 
during the period of our exclusive paper money. On the 
contrary both countries prospered in their foreign trade 
beyond parallel. 


This view is supported by the very highest authority. 

Prof. Cairnes, Professor of Political Economy in the Uni- 
versity of London, in his able work on "Some Unsettled 
Questions in Political Econom} r " (1874) says: 

" It appears to me that the influence attributed by many 
able writers in the United States to the depreciation of the 
paper currency as regards its effects on the foreign trade 
of the country is, in a great degree, purely imaginary. An 
advance in the scale of prices, measured in gold, in a coun- 
try, if not shared by other countries, will at once affect 
its foreign trade, giving an impulse to foreign importa- 
tions and checking the exportation of all commodities 
other than gold. A similar effect is very generally attrib- 
uted by American writers to the action on prices of the 
greenback inconvertible currency. 

"But it may easily be shown that this is a complete illu- 
sion. Foreigners do not send their products to the United 
States to take back greenbacks in exchange. The return 
which they look for is either gold or the commodities of the 
country; and if these have risen in price in proportion as 
the paper money "has been depreciated, how should the 
advance in paper prices constitute an inducement for them 
to send their goods hither? The nominal gain in green- 
backs on the importation is exactly balanced by the nomi- 
nal loss when those greenbacks came to be converted into 
gold or commodities. The gain may, in particular cases, 
exceed the loss, but, if it does, the loss will also, in other 
cases, exceed the gain. On the whole, and on an average, 
they cannot but be the equivalents of each other." 

But it is clear from the facts laid before the reader in 
this chapter that the outside world has no silver to spare. 
It is on the stretch for more. The average annual product 
of gold and silver combined of all the mines of the world, 
amounts to less than twenty ceDts per inhabitant per year. 

Free coinage then, will afford no adequate remedy for 
the financial distress under which this country is suffering. 
It is clear that we cannot command enough silver to afford 
relief. It should be welcomed as a valuable auxiliary 
to our currency. It can never be more. It should be 



allowed to take its place without hindrance in our trinity 
of finance which, in the present state of public enlighten- 
ment, should consist of gold, silver and full legal tender 
paper, issued in sufficient quantity to conduct the current 
business of the country on a cash basis. 

The following tables which we take from a speech of the 
Hon. John P. Jones, to which we have several times had 
occasion to refer, are fraught with information of great 
value to the student of economic science: 

Table showing the ratio of qold and silver in various countries of the 
world up to the Christian era. 




1 to 13.33 


1 to 13.33 

1 to 13.33 


1 to 13.00 


1 to 12.50 


1 to 10.00 


1 to 13.00 


1 to 10.00 


1 to 


1 to 13.33 
1 to 12.00 


1 to 12.00 
1 to 13.50 


( 12.00 

1 to^ 13.00 






1 to 14.00 
1 to 11.50 
1 to 12.50 
1 to 10.10 


1 to 13.70 


1 to 11.91 


1 to 8.93 


1 to 11.90 


1 to 12.00 


Inscriptions at Karnak; tribute lists of Thutmosis. (Bran- 

Cuneiform inscriptions on plates found in foundation of 

Ancient Persian coins; gold darics at 8.3 grams = 20 silver 

siglos. at 5.5 grams. 
Persia. Darius. Egyptian tribute. Herod. Ill, 95. 

Sicily. Time of Gelon. "At least" 12.50. (Bceckh, page 

Doubtful. Asia Minor. Xerxes's treasure. (Boeckh,page 

Herodotus' account of Indian tributes. 360 gold talents= 

4.680 silver. 
Asia Minor. Pay of Xenophon's troops in silver darics. 

(Anab. ; Boeckb. page 34.) 
Spurious aud debased gold coins at Athens. (MacLeod, 

Polit. Econ., page 476; Bceckh, page 35.) 
Standard in Asia, according to Xenophon. 
Standard in Greece, according to "Hipparchus"; attrib- 
uted to Plato. 

/■Various authorities adduced by Bceckh. 

"1 Values in Greece from the Poloponnesian war to the 
! time of Alexander, according to hints in Greek writers. 
[ There were variations under special contracts— unit 
I the silver drachma. 

Greece. Time of Demosthenese. (Bceckh, page 44. 
Special contracts in Greece. 
Egypt under the Ptolemies 
Greece. Continued depression of gold, caused by great 

influx under Alexandria. 
Rome. (Bceckh, paije 44.) Gold scriptulum arbitrarily 

fixed at 17.143 for 1. 
Rome. General rate of gold pound to silver sesterces to 

Rome. Continued depression of gold, caused by influx of 

Caspar's spoil from Gaul. LN. B.— Cassar's headquarters 

were at Aquileia, at the head of the Adriatic, where there 

was also a gold mine, which at this period became very 

Rome. "About the year U. C 700," the rate was 11 19-21. 

(Bceckh, page 44.) 
Rome. Normal rate in the last days of the republic. 



Table showing the ratio of gold and silver in various countries of 
the world from the opening of the Christian era to the discov- 
ery of America. 

A. D. 













to 10, 
to 12, 
to 11, 
to 11 
to 11, 
to 11, 
to 14, 
to 14, 
to 12, 


Rate under Augustus and Teberius., 

Re£nofN;£o gUla - The silver colna S e much 
Re -n of VpVnnsInn I debased, consequently the 

ReiSSofDo e m P itfan n - ™"° flh ' 1 t t h 1 e t 5 a 1 e 1 tals - Dure 
T?„i£„ ^f a„«-~„5„,, c was about 1 to 11. 

1 to 10.50 
1 to 

to 12. 
to 12, 
to 12, 
to 12. 
to 11. 
to 11, 
to 10. 

Reign of Antoninus. ) 

Byzantium. Reign of Constantine. Arbitrary. 

Byzantium and Rome. Theodosian code. Arbitrary. 

Probable ratio, as shown by the Edictum Pistense, under 
the Carlovingian dynasty. 

Average ratio in the commercial cities of Italy. Local or 

England. Numerous mint indentures given in McLeod's 
Political Economy, page 475. The ratio, except when 
fixed arbitrarily and in violation of market price. varied 
between about 1.12 and 1.14 during the two hundred and 
fifty-seven years included in this period. 

(Ratio in North Germany, as shown by the very accurate 
rules of the Lubeck mint, corroborated in the main by 
the accounts of the Teutonic order of Knights, aver- 
aged in periods of forty years. 

Ratio according to the accounts of the Teutonic Knights. 
As the ratio fixed in England by numerous mint indent- 
ures from 1465 to 1509 was about 1.12, this German ratio 
is considered local or doubtful. 

"It will thus be observed that during the one thousand 
four hundred and ninety-two years from the coming of 
Christ to the discovery of America, silver never went be- 
low the ratio of 14.40 to one of gold. 

"The relations which the metals have borne to each 
other since the discovery of the New World will appear 
from the following: 

Table showing the relative values of gold and silver in the various 
countries of the world from the discovery of America to 1680. 

A. D. 



1497 1 

1559 1 
1561 1 
1575 1 
1623 1 
1669 1 
1679 1 

to 10.70 
to 10.50 
to 11.17 
to 11.41 
to 11.70 I 
to 11.68 j 
to 11.74 
to 13.51 
to 15.10 
to 14.15 
to 15.11 
to 15.00 I 
to 15.40 I 

Spain. Reign of Isabella. Edict of Medina. Local. 
Germany. Adam Riese's Arithmetic. Local or doubtful. 
Germany. Imperial mint regulations. Arbitrary or local. 
German Imperial mint regulations. 

France. Mint regulations. 

Upper Germany. Mint regulations. 

France. Mint regulations. Transition period. 

France. Mint regulations. 

Upper Germany. Mint regulations. Doubtful. 

Upper Germany. Mint regulations. 

France. Mint regulations. 



Table-showing the ratio of silver to 1 of gold from 1687 to the de- 
monetization of silver by Germany and the United States, and the 
closing of the mints to its free coinage. 

[.From the Report (1890) of the Director of the U. S. Mint on the Production 
of the Precious Metals In the United States.] 






































































































1742. . . 

1743. . 



1746. . 






1752 .. 


1754 .. 






















W76 . 























































790 . 

701 . 

















































































1828 . 

1829 . 

1830 . 

1831 . 

1832 . 

1833 . 

1834 . 

1835 . 

1837 . 

1838 . 

1839 . 

1840 . 

1841 . 

1842 . 

1843 . 

1844 . 
1345 . 

1846 . 

1847 . 

1848 . 

1849 . 

1851 . 

1852 . 

1853 . 

1854 . 

1855 , 

1857 , 

1858 , 
1860 , 


[Note.— From 1687 to 1832 the ratios are takcD from Dr. A. Soetbeer; from 
1833 to 1878 from Pixley and Abell's tables; and from 1879 to 1889 from daily 
cablegrams from London to the Bureau of the Mlnt.l 



Table showing the ratio of silver to 1 oj gold since the demonetiza- 
tion of silver by Germany and the United Stales, and the closing 
of all mints of the western wovid to its free coinage. 
































"The foregoing figures show that it is only since the'legis- 
lative proscription of silver by Germany and the United 
States, and the closing of all the European mints to its 
coinage, that any material change took place in the ratio 
between the two metals, which conclusively demonstrates 
that the present divergence in the relative values of the 
two metals is directly due>to the legal • outlawry of silver 
and not to natural causes." r 



When misfortune befalls an individual and he is forced 
to make expenditures which exceed both his store of money 
and available resources, he is likely to become the victim 
of avarice and fall into the clutches of those who possess 
that which he does not — ready cash. Few men under such 
circumstances are strong enough to avoid this common 
fate. An individual can simply direct his own actions and 
is only partially Sovereign over himself. As to all other 
persons he must control them, if at all, by contract or per- 
suasion. But an independent and powerful Nation, if 
wisely governed, is not subject to such limitations and vicis- 
situdes. The Nation is supreme and rules over the whole 
body as an individual controls his own person. It com- 
mands and every member, the head, the eye, the ear, the 
tongue, the hands, the feet — the whole organic structure 
must obey. No member of the body politic can become 
so great as to rise above, none so insignificant as to fall 
below the control of the Sovereign will. If circumstances 
warrant, the Sovereign hand can be laid upon the persons, 
the property, the commerce, and even the lives of its sub- 
jects. That power so vast should be exercised with pru- 
dence and caution none will gainsay. But Government 
was created to meet and master emergencies with which 
individual powers and capacities are inadequate to cope. 
Each individual member of society consented to the full 


exercise of this power when his citizenship began, and this 
consent can neither be withdrawn nor ignored; neither can 
the primal functions of Government ever be rightfully sur- 
rendered. What moral right have the rulers and lawmak- 
ers of a Sovereign and Independant Nation to refuse to ex- 
ercise the legitimate powers entrusted to their care? What 
right have they to dethrone their Sovereign and send him 
forth into the market as an individual to beg wbere he 
should command, or to borrow where he should create ? It 
is worse than the sale of the purple to the highest bidder; it 
is equivalent to advertising for a despot, an offer in advance 
to present him with the purple gratis when he shall appear, 
and finally to put the people under tribute to him and his 
successors forever. 

The policy of public borrowing is subversive of sover- 
eignty and is as illogical as it is full of evil consequences. 
No other system could possibly be devised that is so well 
calculated to enthrone the capitalistic classes among the 
nations of the earth. If a Nation becomes involved in war 
when its current revenues and available resources, as ordi- 
narily understood, are inadequate to meet the strain, it 
must, nevertheless, have money or perish from the face of 
the earth. Kesort is generally had to borrowing, either 
from its own citizens or from foreign capitalists. This im- 
plies a contract into which the capitalist, of his own voli- 
tion, may or may not enter. It implies the right on his 
part to prescribe the terms on which the loan shall be made 
and the right to refuse the loan altogether. It places the 
life of the Nation at his mercy and the relation of Sovereign 
and subject is lost sight of completely. In fact, the Sov- 
ereign becomes the subject, and the subject the Sovereign. 
They exchange places and a new regime follows as certainty 
as if one king should abdicate and another be enthroned. 
When the sovereignty of the people is thus displaced, 


either by voluntary surrender or by the gradual and cun- 
ning usurpation of capital, it is rarely ever regained — never 
except by upheavals which convulse society from center to 
circumference. The importance of these observations, as 
well as the evils which result when they are disregarded 
will become apparent as we advance . They are the very 
fountain head of the political and social convulsions through 
which this Nation is now passing. 


King Solomon certainly had a prevision of the present 
era of debt, and all the reckless borrowing nations of the 
nineteenth century must have been passing in mournful 
procession before him when he declared u The rich rule 
over the poor and the borrower is servant to the lender." 
During the latter half of the present Centuiy — since 1848 
— the nations of the earth have universally become bor- 
rowers; and this in the face of increasing riches gathered 
from vast gold fields in the eastern and western hemi- 
spheres, and in spite of the fact that nature is more 
bountiful than ever before and has revealed to man the 
combinations which enable him to open the vaults of the 
universe and help himself to her inexhaustible treasures. 

England and Holland were greatly in debt prior to the 
date named ; but since 1848 all nations have followed their 
example and plunged recklessly into debt. A Government 
is intangible and cannot be enslaved. Hence the yoke un- 
fortunately falls to the lot of individual subjects — the poor. 
Nor does it make the slightest difference whether the 
Nation as such is the borrower, or whether it is the great 
body of the people who become indebted in their indi- 
vidual capacity or both ; the same servitude, more or less 
galling, must inevitably result. Pitiable indeed is the 
condition of that country where both extensive public and 


general private indebtedness are co-existent. It is a 
lamentable fact as we shall see further on, that to-day the 
Government of every debtor people on our planet is in 
the hands of the monied classes — the usurers. Capitalists 
have entrenched themselves within the governments of the 
world and wield the machinery of state as the policeman 
does the baton and the revolver — to inspire fear, control 
the refractory and suppress revolt. This universal domi- 
nation of capitalists over modern nations accounts for the 
readiness with which public loans are effected. The loan 
is made to a corporation controlled by the lender, and the 
supervision of his wealth remains practically in his own 
hands. The lien which he secures attaches to the total 
wealth of the country, is exempt from taxes and is more 
stable than that which individuals can proffer; while the 
methods of enforcement are inexpensive and more secure. 
The feudal system and the thirst for military achieve- 
ments which animated the leading spirits of the world for 
so many centuries were the complements of each other, 
and they both finally perished together. Their overthrow 
did not take place at the same time in all parts of Europe, 
and in fact was not fully accomplished until the fall of the 
first Napoleon. It received its first great wound, however, 
when William III. ascended the English throne in the lat- 
ter half of the seventeenth century, and granted political 
freedom to the capitalistic classes. This was the victory 
of aristocracy over monarchy and introduced a new factor 
into the governments of the world. Knighthood com- 
menced to wane and the landed and mercantile classes 
rapidly rose into importance and demanded that govern- 
ments should be administered in their interest instead of 
in the interest of the monarch. They succeeded. Then 
came the perils of a standing army and a National debt. 


From the Norman Conquest down to the accession of 
Charles II. Britain managed to pay her way from revenues 
derived from lands reserved to the Crown and allotted on 
conditions of feudal service, and by direct levies on the 
people at large. If the King's expenditures exceeded the 
revenues the excess was called "The King's debt." It was 
not until William III. that it was changed into the "National 
debt" and the funding system originated. 

That "fiscal monster," to use the language of Mr. 
McQueen, an eminent reform writer in England, known as 
the British debt, took its rise in 1694. On the 27th day of 
July of that year, Parliament granted a charter to the 
Bank of England in return for an insignificant loan, as 
we have observed in a former chapter, which the Com- 
pany advanced to the Government. This institution has 
since increased its wealth in proportion to the increase 
of the National debt. The charter stipulated that at 
any time after the first day of August, 1705, upon twelve 
months' notice being given, and upon repayment of the 
loan, with all arrears of interest, their charters should 
cease. It proved to be a loan in perpetuity. Numerous 
extensions of the charter followed and each extension was 
in return fo;- ^,n additional loan. It is impossible to either 
adequately portray or fully conceive the influence which 
the debt of England has had upon the human race. Its 
lines have gone out in all the earth. For nearly two cent- 
uries the Bank of England has wielded the fiscal scepter 
of the world by controlling British securities and those of 
other nations. Its Board of Directors holds both the 
sword and the purs - . They in reality declare war and 
conclude peace. No Ministry would presume to enter 
upon any great national enterprise in peace or campaign 
in war, without first consulting the managers of this insti- 
tution. Together with the Stock Exchange and Royal Ex- 



change, which are its offspring, this bank has become in 
fact both Parliament and King. It makes the laws and 
repeals or executes them at pleasure. 

When it became known that the bank was permitted by 
the terms of its charter to deal in public securities of all 
kinds, wealthy Jews and other capitalists flocked to the 
metropolis from cJl parts of Europe. They carried on 
the business of .stock-jobbing within the building occupied 
by the bank. Finally, in 1700, when their number and 
transactions became so large as to encumber the bank, they 
retreated to " Change Alley," where they continued to 
carry on their business. Finally a building known as the 
"Stock Exchange," was erected in the vicinity of the bank 
and near the Royal Exchange, the three forming a financial 
trinity whose influence is felt in every part of the world. 
For many years after the accession of William III. the 
commercial spirit extended but slowly among surrounding 
Nations. During the reign of Queen Anne, however, it 
received a vital impulse. The Duke of Marlborough, the 
most noted chieftain of that time, became Captain General 
of all the .British forces. He was accompanied in his expe- 
ditions by the wealthy Jew, Medina, who is said to have 
amassed immense riches by rapid dispatches following the 
great victories of the Duke at Yenloo, Liege, Stevenswaert, 
Blenheim, Ramillies, Oudenard and Malplaquet. 

The English debt is now, in round numbers, $4,000,000,- 
000, reckoned in our money, and is destined to continually 
increase. National expenditures in England usually exceed 
the revenues, and hence, the extinguishment of the debt is 
never in modern times, contemplated. Through every 
reign it overshadows the industrial classes like a deadly 
upas, but its fruitage falls like manna from heaven to re- 
fresh and feed an idle aristocracy. This is the peril which 
now confronts us if our revenues are to be reduced below 


the demands of current expenditures and the requirements 
of the sinking fund. 

Yattel, Philmore, and the whole line of writers upon 
international law declare if one Nation refuses to pay a 
debt, repair an injury or give satisfaction to another, [the lat- 
ter may seize property belonging to the former and retain 
it until the offending Nation atones in full. These writers 
further declare that Nations may also rightfully do this to 
protect their subjects and enforce the performance of jus- 
tice when only the rights of private citizens are involved. 

These considerations involve political consquences of the 
most serious and far-reaching character. The British Gov- 
ernment has repeatedly appointed commissions with the 
view of protecting private investors and dispatched them 
to foreign countries to investigate the management of 
local finances, with instructions to report their findings to 
Parliament. Such a commission, consisting of twelve emi- 
nent personages, was appointed in February, 1875, at the 
instance of the London Stock Exchange, and various private 
citizens. Their report, which fills six volumes nearly as 
large as a volume of our Congressional Record, is replete 
with warning to the world, and affords the student of cur- 
rent history a clear understanding of the direction in which 
modern Governments are drifting. 

Egypt furnishes a melancholy instance of the evils of 
public debt. Under the extravagant administration of 
Ishmael Pacha, she had borrowed extensively from the sub- 
jects of England, France and Germany. Payments were 
not prompt, which caused complications to arise, and at the 
request of the Khedive a special commission was appointed 
by the British Government to examine into the financial 
status of the country. A report was made in 187G, but the 
recommendations were not satisfactory to the French finan- 
cial houses, and were rejected. Shortly thereafter, at the 


instance of the "Council of foreign bond-holders," Mr. 
Goshen and M. Joubert, proceeded to Egj^pt and brought 
the Government to terms. The Khedive consented to sell 
his estates to insure the payment of the loan of 1870, and 
for the other loans of 1862, 1868 and 1872, the railways 
were placed under the control of a commission consisting 
of two Englishmen, one Frenchman and two Egyptians. 
Then in 1878, the Rothchilds of London and Paris, made 
another loan of £8,500,000 based upon the family property 
of the Khedive which he transferred to the state. The next 
year Ishmael Pacha was forced to abdicate and Prince 
Tewfik was formally invested with power, and the rule of 
the usurer was made complete in the ancient empire of the 
Ptolemies. The entire administration of the country was 
thrown into the hands of England and France, through 
two Comptrollers General. The Egyptian debt question 
agitated European politics. Germany, Austria-Hungary 
and Italy were invited to participate in the general division 
of Egyptian f poils. This humiliation was resented by the 
National part}', and headed by Arabi Pacha it rose in re- 
bellion. But this gallant leader and his little army of pov- 
erty-stricken followers were soon brought to terms by 
English guns, and an arnoe.d occupation of their country by 
a foreign power, quickly jrisued. The principality of Tu- 
nis, in North Africa, furnishes another example. Her 
finances are regulated by a syndicate of English, French 
and Italian bondholders, who are self-appointed, and yet 
their salaries are drawn from the Tunisian treasury. Other 
examples might be readily given, but enough has been said 
to indicate that Public borrowing and Popular liberty are 
not likely to flourish well together. 

The civilized Governments of our day are struggling 
under an indebtedness computed at $30,000,000,000. It 
will be observed that this sum does not include local, cor- 


porate or individual obligations of any kind, the sum total 
of which is well nigh incalculable. The enormity of this 
burden of public debt becomes apparent when we reflect 
that it constitutes a mortgage of $800 upon each square 
mile of territory over which the various civilized Govern- 
ments extend, and an indebtedness of about $22 for every 
inhabitant of the earth young and old. 

The interest upon this vast indebtedness, calculated at 5 
per cent per annum, exceeds the sum of $4,000,000 per day, 
and to simply pay the interest requires the continuous labor 
of over 4,000,000 day-laborers earning the average per 
diem wage now paid among these borrowing Nations. 
Prior to 1848, as has been already intimated the public 
debts of the world were comparatively small, and amounted 
to only about eight and a half billion dollars. The Civil 
war in the United States, the Austro-German war, the 
Paraguayan war, the Franco-German war and the sudden 
and unlimited resort to credit among all Nations, furnish a 
ready explanation of the enormous increase above stated. 

Mr. Henry C. Adams, in his work entitled "Public 
Debts," published in 188T, states that in 1862 there were 
quoted upon the London Stock Exchange, foreign stocks 
to the amount of £697,830,000. while the quotations of ten 
years later showed the same class of securities to have ex- 
panded to the enormous figure of £2,430,000,000. At the 
present time over one hundred Sovereign States, and fifty 
which are quasi- Sovereign, daily offer their public securi- 
ties for sale in the London market. The spectacle is here 
presented of the Nations of the earth reduced to penury 
and bankruptcy through the machinations of individual 
capitalists — of a small coterie of usurers being wealthier, 
or at least more powerful in financial affairs, than the whole 
body of the people backed by their Governments. In fact 
this class of persons rule and administer the Governments 


of the earth in their own interest. Usury sits enthroned 
throughout the earth and wields universal empire. 

The corporal slavery of the olden time had only a local 
habitation. It has given place to the new servitude which 
is more universal and equally cruel, and it is far more econ- 
omical and profitable for the master. 

The following table which we take from Professor 
Adam's work above referred to exhibits in a startling man- 
ner the growth of the public indebtedness of the world: 

1714 $ 1,500,000,000 

1793 2,500,000,000 

1820 7,750,000,000 

1848 8,650,000,000 

1862 , . . 13,750,000,000 

1872 23,025,000,000 

1882 26,970,000,000 

According to American Almanac: 
1889 32,317,336,421 

The private debts of the world can only be estimated. 
That excellent authority, Sir Moreton Frewen, estimates 
the public and private debts of the people of Great Britain 
at £4,000,000,000 or nearly 820,000,000,000. 

In a note found on page 448 of Dr. Denslow's treatise 
on Political Economy we find the following: 

"The Iron Age, referring to an address to the National 
Board of Trade by Mr. Price, quotes Lord Derby as hav- 
ing predicted that European nations must repudiate. The 
annual burden of 8800,000,000 of interest is a load they 
cannot carry. Spain, Portugal, Austria, and Greece are 
bankrupt; Russia and Italy are without credit; and the 
great states of Great Britain, France and Holland are ex- 
hausting every measure of taxation to maintain solvency 
and credit." 


Let us now look into the situation in our own country in 
this respect. In point of age the Government of the 
United States is but an infant. Many of the great nations 


of the earth now existing, had passed through centuries of 
alternate peace and war long before America, the lost 
Atlantis, was found. Our expanse of territory would 
afford homes for five times our present population, and 
they could subsist in securit} 7 " and in the enjoyment of 
peace and plenty. The restless and sleepless seas stand 
sentinel to guard our repose and to shield us from invasion . 
Our resources are unexampled in the history of any nation 
known to recorded history. Added to our natural and 
acquired advantages we have a Democratic form of Gov- 
ernment barely a century old which was especially insti- 
tuted and constructed to avoid the distressing conditions of 
poverty and misery which result to the mass of mankind 
from mal-administration of despotic and aristocratic forms 
of Government. The bounties of Providence and the 
wise forethought of the framers of our Government seem 
to have wrought in unison to make our lot exceptionally 
favorable. Notwithstanding all this, however, we have 
the leprosy of debt, the curse of wretchedness in the 
midst of plenty, the spectacle of poverty surrounded by 
unexampled riches, of hunger abiding as next door neigh- 
bor of abundance, of food decaying for the want of some- 
one to eat it, in sight of those who are perishing for the 
necessities of life, of nakedness in sight of great store- 
houses filled with raiment — all these sickening and per- 
plexing evils have come hither to plague us as they have 
scourged all nations before our time. Dives and Lazarus 
are both with us and the latter is expected to be content 
with the crumbs which fall from the rich man's table. 
With these glaring facts before us it is the solemn duty of 
the men and women of this generation to inquire diligentl\ r 
whether there be not some radical defect in the machinery 
of our Government or else in the very organic structure of 
society itself. It cannot longer be postponed if we would 


avoid the perils of self invited chaos and the terrors of 
impending revolution. Dr. Denslow's estimate of indebt- 
edness in the United States in the year 1887, was as follows: 

Present National debt, December 1, 1887. . . . $1,675,817,660 

State 226,596,594 

County and municipal 821,486,447 

Railway 4,163,640,144 

Banking 4,581,706,203 

Private banking 1 ,500,000,000 

Record 6,000,000,000 

Mercantile 3,000,000,000 

Individual, otherwise than above 6,000,000,000 

Aggregate $27,969,247,048 

This total is more than one-half of the entire census val- 
uation of 1880. If our population is now 64,000,000 and 
our indebtedness has increased in like ratio, it means a per 
capita burden greater than the average income of the family. 
Six per cent, annual interest upon this vast sum is $1,678,- 
154,822.88 — a sum almost equal to our total annual increase 
of wealth. 

The total assessed value of the property of the United 
States in 1880, for purposes of taxation was $16,802,993,- 
543.00. In 1888, according to the best authorities, the 
assessed value in thirty-eight states was $22,637,884,298. It 
is safe to assume that for any increase in wealth since these 
periods there has been a corresponding increase of debt; 
and it is also entirely safe to conclude, in the light of re- 
cent census investigations, that the indebtedness of the 
people of the United States equals the total assessed value 
of the entire property of the country. Besides this, the 
above estimate of the average rate of annual interest (six 
per cent.) is believed to be greatly below the real interest 
charge, and we have not estimated the increase of interest 
through compounding. The influences and causes which 
have entailed upon the American people this blighting 
curse and crushing burden were examined in our chapter 
on Finance in War and Peace. 



The most disastrous and discouraging effects of an evil 
financial system always make their appearance at the cen- 
ters of social life — the home and the fireside — the most 
sacred places on earth. 

In modern life every respectable person is expected to 
have two things — a definite abiding place and money to pay 
current expenses. If long deprived of these essentials he 
becomes an outcast and a pauper. Nothing can be more 
cruel than an economic condition which makes it difficult 
for persons, no matter how humble, to either retain or 
secure these indispensable auxiliaries to life, comfort and 
respectability. Whenever, in a populous Nation, agricul- 
tural pursuits become of secondar3 r importance as a means 
of acquiring wealth, it may be set down as certain that the 
callings which have risen above it are operating under 
some artificial stimulus which is abnormal and unjust. The 
stream and its fountain can never change their normal 
relations to each other without the application of some for- 
eign force; and when the disturbing agency is removed 
natural relations will quickly be renewed. The earth is 
the great storehouse of wealth and those who toil upon it 
create the riches of the world and make them available to 
the human race. The cultivation of the soil should be and 
in fact is, under natural conditions, the surest road to opu- 
lence known among men. Under just relations it would 


be impossible to impoverish this calling, for it feeds, 
clothes and shelters the human family. 

But production suggests commerce, and commerce calls 
for certain instrumentalities without which it cannot be 
carried on. Chief among these is money. This important 
agent bears the same relation to industry that steam does 
to the locomotive, blood to the animal economy, or oil to 
machinery. If money is scarce it will be hard to get; and 
when hard to get it is always dear, and the scarcer the 
dearer. Dear money means cheap property, and the 
dearer the money the cheaper the property. Under such 
circumstances, the profits of labor are shifted from the 
hands of those who create the wealth to the coffers of those 
who control the money. The process is simple and within 
the comprehension of all who care to think . 

When prices are reduced a given per cent the money in 
the country is increased in purchasing power in precisely 
the same ratio. If prices are reduced one-half the ready 
cash of the capitalist is practically doubled. If he is 
actively using $100,000 in business, $50,000 will now answer 
his purpose and the remaining $50,000 is released and be- 
comes surplus capital which he may employ in some other 
way. Thus it will be seen that $50,000 have been taken 
from labor and from property holders and given to the 
money owner. If this relation continues for any consider- 
able period the disease becomes chronic and extends to the 
soil. When no longer able to meet current expenses and 
keep up repairs from the income of the farm, the disap- 
pointed husbandman is forced to borrow to meet his daily 
wants. The distress being universal borrowing becomes 
general and the land itself is pledged for the payment of 
the money borrowed — principal and interest — the latter 
being generally in excess of the annual net returns of the 


Now if the circulating medium continues scarce and pop- 
ulation multiplies the depression must grow severer from 
year to year. If an occasional bad crop intervenes imme- 
diate disaster is inevitable. The desire to escape from the 
calamitous situation and to save something from the wreck 
causes every mortgaged farmer to offer his land for sale. 
He must have money even if he is forced to give his share 
of the earth in exchange for it. Meanwhile money is rap- 
idly advancing in purchasing power. It is the one thing 
which everybody wants and must have. The very planet, 
when compared with it, sinks into insignificance. Buyers 
are few and nobody wants the land. The market is glutted 
and mother earth goes begging for purchasers. Land val- 
ues decline and the mone}' - baron has conquered. This 
explains for the most part, where the large amount of sur- 
plus money came from which has in recent years been 
loaned upon farm mortgages. It was first transferred from 
industry to capital by contraction, reduction in prices and 
accumulations of interest, and then loaned back to the very 
people from whom it had been filched. By this process the 
land of the whole country has been practically reopened to 
private entry with speculators as preferred applicants and 
actual tillers of the soil in the role of trespassers. 

The release of money through contraction and consequent 
reduction of prices accounts for that financial mirage which 
has perplexed and deluded the people of this country ever 
since the inauguration of the McCulloch policy in 1866. As 
often as the people complained that prices were ruinously 
low and money painfully scarce, the apologists of the bale- 
ful order of things would point to the banks and loan 
brokers and cry out: "There is an abundance of money — 
more than can be profitably employed." Great metropoli- 
tan newspapers took up the refrain and have ever since 
been singing it in full chorus, basso, tenor, soprano and 


alto. They forget that most prudent men decline to invest 
money when prices are rapidly falling. Those who have 
money understand that their idle cash, though locked up in 
the vault, is all the while increasing in purchasing power, 
which is equivalent to a high rate of interest without risk. 
This makes money appear to be plentiful when in fact it is 
an additional process of making it scarce. Contraction 
destro} r ed one moiety of the money and falling prices 
drove the other into the vaults. The presence of large 
quantities in the hands of the loan brokers is conclusive 
evidence that it is not performing its legitimate function 
in the channels of trade, and that industry is seriously suf- 
fering at its extremities. And yet this condition of things 
is generally accepted as conclusive evidence that no more 
mone}* is needed. Such financial wiseacres could prove 
that there had never been a drought in the Northwest by 
showing that Lake Michigan had always been navigable. 

It is easy to understand that this condition of things 
necessarily forces vast quantities of land upon the market. 
It offers a premium to land speculators and enables the few 
who control the money to buy up at a low figure great areas 
of the soil. It empowers those who are financially strong 
in every neighborhood to crowd out their weaker neighbors 
and secure titles to their lands. It is a common thing now 
to find large landed proprietors in every county throughout 
all the states and territories. Small estates are being rapidly 
absorbed and the once contented tillers of small farms are 
being rooted out and driven to the cities, or they are taking 
their places in the rapidly increasing army of tenants. In 
a healthy economic condition the tendency, as population 
increases, would be to smaller farms and higher cultivation. 
But at present, we are making rapid strides in exactly the 
opposite direction. 


All shrewd investors understand that the best security- 
known to the business world is land. It is not only non- 
perishable, but the number of acres are forever fixed. It 
can neither be more nor less through all the centuries. Not 
so with the inhabitants of the earth. They multiply rap- 
idly. The yearly increase can be calculated with accuracy, 
and as they multiplyjthe demand for homes and arable land 
must of necessity increase in like ratio. "When we remem- 
ber that the area of the earth i3 limited and its inhabitants 
constantly increasing in numbers, the rapid tendency to- 
ward large holdings constitutes a most solemn and startling 
impeachment of our whole system of land tenures. It is a 
plea for reform more eloquent and persuasive than any- 
thing which can be evolved from the finite mind. 


The man who originated the word mortgage and applied 
it to real estate which is pledged for the payment of debt, 
was a philologist and a philosopher. The first part of the 
word — mart — was originally derived from a latin word 
which signifies death. The word murder is from the same 
ultimate root. The last half of the word — gage — is from the 
Old French, and signifies to pledge, pawn or stake. We get 
the whole word from the Old English, where it was used to 
mean a dead pledge. It was probably employed to dis- 
tinguish the pledge of lands from the pawn of chattels — 
the latter being movable; but this would not sufficiently 
account for the selection of the word mort, which is sugges- 
tive of death and the departure of the mortgager from the 
earth, Having pledged his source of subsistence, when 
that is gone he is liable to perish. Hence in its last anal- 
ysis, the mortgage rests upon the life of him who gives 
the pledge and upon those who are dependent upon him 
for support. It is creditable to the savage tribes that 
they have never committed this abominable crime. 


As we have seen, the effects of an insufficient volume of 
money, are, to depress the price of real estate in the mar- 
ket, drive it into pledge, force it to sale and to greatly re- 
duce the number and increase the extent of individual hold- 
ings. By such means the land passes rapidly into the 
hands of a small class of persons whose means enable 
them to retain the title. These influences have been at 
high tide in this country for more than twenty years. The 
effects are seen in the rapid increase of urban and corres- 
ponding decrease of rural population as shown by our late 

But the most disastrous and appalling manifestation of 
this deplorable policy has yet to be mentioned. The decline 
in the price of lands, in the very nature of things, can be 
but temporary. Two influences unite to make this certain: 
First, the increase of population, and second, that as titles 
pass into the hands of capitalists the land is withdrawn from 
sale except to persons of like means. Such landholders 
can wait for still further advance in prices. 

It may be suggested that this increase in value will result 
in relief to those who are mortgaged and cultivating the 
soil. A moment's reflection will show this to be an error. 
No one but a land speculator or some one wishing to escape 
from the curse of debt can be interested in having real 
estate advance in price, for the reason that an increase in 
price means heavier taxes. What the farmer most wants 
is a good price for the products of his farm rather than an 
advance in the value of the farm itself. This can only be 
brought about by increasing consumption, and this, in 
turn, by enabling the consumer to supply his wants. It is 
plain that an advance in the price of real estate which is 
not caused by an increase in the value of its products, while 
it ma3 r enable a few debt-ridden citizens to escape from 
their burdens, is nevertheless, upon the whole, a serious 


evil to the community at large. It shuts the door of oppor- 
tunity against the people and deprives them of the hope of 
securing homes. It is not high priced lands that we want, 
but high priced products; and this can never be realized 
until those who are engaged in other pursuits are furnished 
with employment at wages which will enable them to fully 
supply their wants. 

We have now reached the period in the history of this 
country when the secondary effects of our financial system 
are beginning to be seriously felt. Land values are rising, 
but the prices of farm products, taking the years together 
are seriously declining. The great body of mortgaged 
farmers will make heroic struggles to save their homes but 
they will, unless relief be extended, in most instances be 
forced at last to yield to the inevitable and part with their 
lands. The increased price of land is only an additional 
inducement for them to relax their efforts. This is exactly 
the effect which has been realized in Great Britain where 
the ante-type of our financial system has been in undirturbed 
operation for nearly three quarters of a century. In Eng- 
land the result has been large holdings wholly dispropor- 
tionate to the "wants of the proprietors, while the great 
body of the people are left homeless and hopeless in a 
country which they are expected to love and defend. 

The reader has doubtless learned from his own observa- 
tion that the same deplorable state of affairs is rapidly tak- 
ing place in our own country. It seems incredible that a 
people possessing the boon of free Government and an 
unobstructed ballot could be thus despoiled and subjugated 
by a few selfish speculators and monopolists in a single 
Century. And more lamentable still the fact that up to a 
very recent period the majority of the people seem to have 
been unmindful of the fact that these evil influences and 


laws, fashioned to beggar themselves and their posterit} r , 
have been in full operation before their eyes. 

The Rt. Hon. William E. Gladstone, that marvelous 
statesman and leader of the nineteenth century, in a man- 
ifesto issued to the people of Great Britain in the month 
of February, 1892, declares that the present land laws of 
England and the large holdings made possible by them, 
are the cause of much of the pauperism in that country. 
That the people are made paupers by law. He declares 
that laws for the relief of the agricultural classes and 
which will enable the people to acquire lands are needed, 
and he calls for their enactment. Lord Shaftesbury, when 
he had concluded his first speech in Parliament, made in 
behalf of more humane treatment of the insane, went to 
his room and recorded in his diary the following note: 
u And so by God's blessing my first effort has been made 
for the advancement of human happiness. May I improve 
hourly." It is glorious to know that Mr. Gladstone is 
filling the closing years of the present Century so full of 
human thoughts and noble deeds that they will be crowded 
over into the next where they will forever remain as the 
common inheritance of our race. 



Abuse of power is the most exasperating crime of the 
world. It has marred the biography of rulers, stained the 
history of dynasties, polluted the administration of justice, 
corrupted the policies of parties, destroyed the tranquility 
of society and boldly set at naught the beneficent objects 
of Government from the dawn of history until the present . 
hour. Indeed it would seem that as man reluctantly 
emerged from barbarism into civilization he brought along 
with him this cherished cruelty, among others, and has 
since been spending much of his time in the vain endeavor 
to domesticate his untamable vices — in trying to improve 
the milk of human kindness b} r spicing it with venom and 
mixing it with wormwood and gall. Some men who are 
physically strong delight in using their strength to inflict 
injury upon weaker persons; others who are wealthy, in 
levying tribute upon the destitute; powerful corporations 
take advantage of the weak, practically confiscate their 
property, decree beggary to large numbers of persons and 
frequently ordain bankruptcy to whole communities. Such 
operations strongly resemble the deadly feuds and tribal 
wars which mark the history of savage races. But bad as 
these things are, we are not to look to such manifestations 
for the most malignant type of modern tyranny. It is 
when wrong-doers get possession of the State and perpe- 
trate their crimes under color of law that we catch a real 



glimpse of the diabolism of oppression. It is in such 
chapters that we find recorded the most heartrending and 
melancholy recitals known to the annals of our race. The 
criminal entrenches himself behind statutes, prates about 
patriotism and places those who plead for redress, or com- 
plain of tyranny in the attitude of seditious and disobedi- 
ent subjects. Official brutalities in modern Russia and 
English tyranny in Ireland, India and Egypt will be read- 
ily recalled by the reader as marked instances of this class 
of State ordained crimes. But we need not go beyond the 
United States in search for manifestations of this crying 

In our own country, as we have abundantly proven in 
our chapter concerning the Public Lands, we have thou- 
sands of instances where meritorious and law-abiding citi- 
zens have been despoiled of their homes and turned adrift 
as beggars by the lawless decrees of mere deparmental 
officials. In their haste to serve their corporate masters it 
is manifest that they wantonly over- rode the plain letter of 
the statute. Indeed, in numerous instances it was so held 
by the highest Court after it was too late' to restore the 
wronged parties to their rights. In many cases the plain 
wording of the statute and the interpretation of the Court 
had united to assure the citizen that he might enter upon 
the land with perfect safety. To complete the assurance, 
the Government solemnly executed and delivered to mul- 
tiplied hundreds of these enterprising home-seekers its 
patents, bearing the Great Seal of the Nation conveying to 
the grantees named and to their heirs and assigns forever, 
complete title to the lands described. And yet subordinate 
bureau officials and heads of departments have afterwards 
ordered the cancellation of such patents and evicted the 
settlers. Upon rehearing before the courts, the former 
rulings upon which the settlers acted have often been. 


reversed and the last hope taken away from the home- 
seekers and their families. These are marked instances of 
the perversion and wrongful use of the powers of Govern- 
ment. The entire enginery of State wasnmade to evolve 
tyranny instead of liberty, destruction instead of security, 
and the will of the people and the laws which they had 
ordained were alike set at naught. 

But the abuse of power referred to in the Title of this 
Chapter differs in type, though not in character or essence, 
from the crimes just named. The kinship of motive in the 
two cases is readily discernable and the difference lies 
chiefly in the method of procedure. In the above instances 
the law is openly violated and redress is denied by minis- 
terial and sometimes even by judicial officers. The polit- 
ical bushranger matures his plans, captures the State, gives 
his schemes of pillage the sanction of law and appro- 
priates the spoil. If you refuse to submit you are not 
law abiding. 

The Gerry-mander belongs in the latter category. This 
vice assails representative and popular features of Govern- 
ment, general and local, and seeks to thwart an untram- 
meled expression of public opinion. Those who profit bj r 
the abuses of society deplore agitation, stand in mortal 
dread of the ballot-box and delight in special statutory 
favors. They know that many existing institution will not 
bear investigation and they tremble whenever new currents 
of thought are set in motion. They are liable to sweep 
existing wrongs and fallacies into oblivion and to replace 
them with institutions and theories more equitable and 
humane. Hence they seek to head off popular clamor, 
crush out political rivals and even to drive back the rising 
tide of reform by special enactments. 

The first marked attempt in this country to legislate in 
restraint of political opinion occurred in Massachusetts 


during the administration of Governor Elbridge Gerry, 

The caricature found at the close of this chapter is from 
an original illustration which appeared in the Boston Reg- 
ister of January, 1813. The following historic statement 
taken from the Memorial History of Boston will fully ex- 
plain the uncomely figure: 

"When Elbridge Gerry was Governor in 1812, the Dem- 
ocratic Legislature, in order to secure increased representa- 
tion of their party in the State Senate, districted the State 
in such a way that the geographical outline of the towns 
forming the Essex District brought out a territory of sing- 
ular outline. Major Ben Russell of the Centinel caused a 
map of the district to be made. Gilbert Stuart, the artist, 
added a head, wings and claws, and exclaimed, 'That will 
do for a salamander!' 'Gerry -man der,' said Major Russell, 
and the title has applied ever since to political districts 
which have been tinkered." 

After this travesty had slumbered for nearly three 
quarters of a century it was, eight or ten years ago, brought 
to light by Mr. Charles H. Litchman, of Marblehead, 
Massachusetts, and republished in his paper, the Statesmwi. 
We are indebted to Mr. Litchman for the copy from which 
our illustration is taken. Since the planting of this bad 
example in the Old Bay State in the early years of the 
Century, its noxious growth has extended into all the States. 
It has been inveighed against by all classes, condemned 
by all parties and anon encouraged whenever the ambi. 
tion of place hunters or the interest of political organi- 
zations could be advanced by the usurpation. It flourishes 
best when the contest between parties is waged simply for 
office. It delights in barren and abandoned fields where 
no attempt is made to cultivate the soil and where the pro- 
prietor gathers a precarious subsistence by trapping and 


hunting for game. It is just now flourishing exuberantly 
in most of the States of the Union. 

It should not excite surprise to see this weapon of war- 
fare used by parties which exist merely for spoil. The 
wonder is that the people, who never share in the booty 
and who are only interested in the general good, will from 
year to year, join these political adventurers, sustain them 
in their depredations and then foot their bills. Let us ex- 
amine a few of the recent manifestations of this evil. 

In 1888 the Eepublicans of Indiana cast 265,365 votes 
for Representatives in Congress. The Democrats cast 
259,987 votes — a difference of 5,378 in favor of the Repub- 
licans, and yet the Democrats elected ten members and the 
Republicans three. The Democrats had one Representa 
tive in Congress for every 25,998 votes and the Republicans 
one for every 88,445. In 1890 in the same State the 
Democrats elected one Representative in Congress for 
every 21,750 votes cast by them and the Republicans one 
for every 108,282 votes. 

In the same years the Republicans of Ohio, under a 
Republican Gerry-mander, elected Representatives in Con- 
gress as follows: 1888, sixteen Representatives, or one 
for every 26,032 votes. The Democrats elected but five, 
or one for every 79,125 votes. The election in that State 
for 1890 occurred under a Democratic Geny-mander and 
the tables were completely reversed — the Democrats elect- 
ing fourteen members, or one Representative for eveiy 
25,824 votes, while the Republicans elected but seven, or 
one for every 51,S03 votes. Our figures are taken from 
an able article written by Mr. Robert S. Taylor and pub- 
lished in the Arena magazine, February, 1892. These are 
examples of this abuse as applied to the election of Repre- 
sentatives in Congress. Scores of others could be men- 
tioned if space did not forbid. If we could illustrate this 


chapter with diagrams showing the grotesque shapes oi 
the districts the abuse would appear still more glaring. 
The law of Congress which requires members to be chosen 
in districts composed of contiguous territory is practically 
made a dead letter. It evidently means fairly contiguous 
territory. But when a Congress assembles elected by such 
method the members are not likely to interpret the law so 
as to unseat themselves. Stolen waters are sweet. 

The same methods are employed by the so-called great 
parties of the day to retain political control in the States 
and to elect United States Senators. The following is a 
lawless and revolutionary example of this inveterate plague. 

Section 35, Article 3, of the Constitution of the State 
of Iowa, provides as follows: 

"The number of representatives shall not exceed one 
hundred, and they shall be apportioned among the counties 
and representative districts according to the number of 
inhabitants therein. Every county and district which shall 
have a number of inhabitants equal to one-half of the ratio 
fixed by law shall be entitled to one representative, and 
any county containing in addition to the ratio fixed by law, 
one-half of that number or more shall be entitled to one 
additional representative." 

The Twenty-second General Assembly fixed the ratio at 
24,000. Under the Constitutional provision above given 
no county having less than 12,000 would by itself be enti- 
tled to a representative, and yet the same Legislature which 
fixed the ratio Gerry-mandered the State so as to put seven- 
teen Republican counties into fifteen Representative dis- 
tricts, every one of which was clearly unconstitional. The 
following are the Republican districts created by this 
shameful act, with the population of each at that time: 

Clark, 11,369; Louisa, 11,020; Audubon, 10,825; Ida, 
9,012; Calhoun, 9,830; Franklin, 11,324; Wright, 0,380; 
Humboldt, 8,005; Buena Vista, 11,530; Sioux, 8,389; Kos- 


suth, 9,337; Hancock and Winnebago, 10,698; Howard, 
9,305; Worth, 8,257; Osceola and Lyon, 8,002; Total, 

These fifteen districts were allowed to elect fifteen mem- 
bers to the Iowa House. 

At the same time they created five Democratic districts, 
out of five counties containing the following population, 
and allowed them only one Representative each, to- wit: 

Lee, 34,024; Des Moines, 35,733; Woodbury, 32,289; 
Marshall, 25,036; Wapello, 25,080; Total, 152,161. 

This apportionment gave one Republican residing in the 
fifteen districts as much power in making the laws of Iowa 
as three Democrats who happened to reside in the five 
Democratic districts. But the main object had in view was 
the election of a United States Senator, and that end was 
accomplished in this shameful and revolutionary manner. 

It is now proposed to apply the Gerry-mander to the 
appointment of electors of President and Yice-President. 
The Constitution provides that each state shall appoint 
electors in such manner as the legislature may direct. They 
may then decide to elect by districts, and the districts may 
be changed, from time to time, to suit the party in power 
in the state. Michigan has already adopted the district 
method. It was enacted by a Democratic legislature and 
the present Executive of the United States called attention 
to the matter in his annual message on the assembling of 
of the Fifty-second Congress. He suggests a Constitutional 
amendment which shall prescribe a fixed method for all the 
States. But it is almost as difficult to amend the Constitu- 
tion as it would be to frame a new Government. We are 
beginning to find out that a Constitution made to meet the 
wants of three million people in a patriotic age which could 
give to the world a Declaration of Independence, is not 


necessarily adequate to the necessities of sixty-four mil- 
lions warped and influenced by party prejudices and divided 
into hostile camps. We are beginning to find out that our 
bed is too short to stretch ourselves on it, and the covering 
too narrow to wrap ourselves in it, and that new safeguards 
are sorely needed. 

It is not strange that the state of Michigan should feel 
that something should be done to avoid the evils of the 
present methods of selecting electors; but they will find 
that the Gerry-mander will not furnish them a safe or desir- 
able remedy. 

When a party entrusted with the control of Government 
becomes intoxicated with power and, fearing the displeas- 
ure of the people, uses the State to fortify itself against the 
rightful exercise of public opinion, there is nothing to dis- 
tinguish such an act from open insurrection except the 
cowardice of the perpetrators who commit their crimes 
behind the forms of law. By one false pretense and 
another they cajole the people and secure their confidence 
and then turn their guns upon the deluded constituency, 
bring them to bay and compel submission to outrage and 

The only safe and fair method of selection is by the 
people of the whole State. If all the States should adopt 
the district method it would answer if the Gerry-mander 
could be avoided. But we cannot hope to secure the one 
or to avoid the other. There is, however, a plain practical 
remedy at hand which the States can adopt for themselves. 
Appoint the Electors for President and Vice-President by 
the vote of all the qualified electors in the State, but allow 
the voter to cast one vote for each Elector as he does now, 
or allow him to cast them all for any number less than the 
whole number to be selected from the State, just as he 
pleases. . To illustrate: The State of Iowa appoints at 


From i in Original Illustration of the Essex, Massachusetts District 

is ii appeared in Tin: Boston Register, January, 1813. 



present eleven. The four parties in the State would then 
nominate the number which they could certainly elect and 
no more, and cast their whole vote for them. If they 
should nominate more they would be in danger of losing 
all. If but one is nominated each person supporting the 
nominee would cast eleven votes for one candidate instead 
of one vote each for eleven candidates as at present. If 
he desired to vote for two or more he could divide his 
eleven votes between them just as he pleased. This is 
what is called cumulative voting, or minority or propor- 
tional representation. Senator Buckalew, of Pennsj'lvania, 
several years ago, introduced a bill to provido for the 
election of Representatives in Congress by this method. 
It was referred to the Judiciary Committee of which he 
was a member. He made a very able and exhaustive 
report in favor of the measure which he afterwards em- 
bodied in a book entitled Proportional Representation. 
If this method were adopted it would restore the Govern- 
ment to the people and sound the death knell to the corrupt 
use of money in politics. We predict that Mr. Buckalew's 
book will yet attract very wide attention. The method 
suggested is Democratic in the highest sense and its oper- 
ation would make the House of Representatives and the 
Electoral College representative bodies in fact as well ir 




If the master builders of our civilization one hundred 
years ago had been told that at the end of a single cen- 
tury, American society would present such melancholy 
contrasts of wealth and poverty, of individual happiness 
and widespread infelicity as are to be found to-day through- 
out the Republic, the person making the unwelcome 
prediction whould have been looked upon as a misanthro- 
pist, and his loyalty to Democratic institutions would have 
been seriously called in question. Our federal machine, 
with its delicate inter-lace work of National, State and mu- 
nicipal supervision, each intended to secure perfect indi- 
vidual equality, was expected to captivate the world by its 
operation and insure domestic contentment and personal 
security to a degree never before realized by mankind. 

But there is a vast difference between the generation 
which made the heroic struggle for Self-government in 
colonial days, and the third generation which is now en- 
gaged in a mad rush for wealth. The first took its stand 
upon the inalienable rights of man and made a fight which 
shook the world. But the leading spirits of the latter are 
entrenched behind class laws and revel in special privileges. 
It will require another revolution to overthrow them. That 
revolution is upon us even now. 


Two representative characters — Dives and Lazarus — al- 
ways make their appearance side by side in disturbing con- 
trast just before the tragic stage of revolution is reached. 
They were present at the overthrow of ancient civilizations; 
the hungry multitude stood outside the gates when Belshaz- 
zar's impious feast was spread; they were both at the cave 
oi Adullam when the scepter was about to depart from the 
tyrant Saul to the hands of the youthful David; they stood 
side by side when Alaric thundered at the gates of Rome; 
they confronted one another in the fiery tempest of the 
French revolution and they are sullenly face to face in our 
own country to-day. We will devote a few pages to the 
delineation of these forces as they appear in our civilization 
at the present period. 


In the year 1884, as we are told by Ward McAllister, 
in his book entitled ''Society as I Found It," a wealthy 
gentleman gave a banquet at Delmonico's at which the 
moderate number of seventy-two guests, ladies and gentle- 
men, were entertained. The gentleman giving the banquet 
had unxepectedly received from the Treasury of the United 
States a rebate of $10,000 for duties which had been exacted 
from him through some alleged misconception of the law. 
He resolved to spend the entire sum in giving a single din- 
ner which should excel any private entertainment ever 
given in New York. He consulted Charles Delmonico, 
who engaged to carry out his wishes. The table was con- 
structed with a miniature lake in the center thirty feet in 
length, enclosed by a network of golden wire which reached 
to the ceiling, forming a great cage. Four immense swans 
were secured from one of the parks and placed in this lake. 
High banks of flowers of every hue surrounded the lake 
and covered the entire table, leaving barely enough room 


for the plates and wine glasses. The room was festooned 
with flowers in every direction. Miniature mountains and 
valleys with carpets of flowers made vocal with sparkling 
rivulets, met the eye on every hand. Golden cages filled 
with sweet singing birds hung from the ceiling and added 
their enchantment to the gorgeous spectacle. Soft, sweet 
music swept in from adjoining rooms, and all that art, 
wealth and imagination could do was done to make the 
scene one of unexampled beauty. And then the feast ! 
All the dishes which ingenuity could invent or the his- 
tory of past extravagance suggest, were spread before the 
guests. The oldest and costliest wines known to the trade 
flowed like the water that leaped down the cascades in the 
banqueting hall. The guests were wild with exultation 
and delight and tarried far into the night. But in a few 
brief hours the romanticism had passed, the carousal was 
broken, and the revelers were face to face with the respon- 
sibilities which none of us can evade. The fool and his 
money had parted. 


Some time after the '"swan dinner" was given, three of 
the swell leaders of New York society planned to give each 
a handsome entertainment which should set all New York 
talking. Each instructed the head of the celebrated cafe 
to spare no expense and to make his dinner the best of the 
three. So magnificent were these entertainments that 
Lorenzo Delmonico designated them as the silver, gold and 
diamond dinners. Each had peculiarities which distin- 
guished it from the others. At one of them each lady 
found snugly concealed in her napkin a gold bracelet with 
the monogram of Jerome Park in the center in chased gold. 



At one of the stated receptions given at the Executive 
Mansion during the first session of the Forty-ninth Con- 
gress, there appeared among the throng of exquisitely 
attired guests, the wife of a noted New York millionaire. 
She was accompanied by two trusted attendants, hand- 
somely dressed in citizens' garb, who remained constantly 
with her, but slightly to the rear so as to keep perfect 
watch over her drapery. As she swept through the hall 
with her train and into the great east room, her raiment 
glistened until it almost seemed that a celestial constella- 
tion had descended from the skies to attend this reception. 
Her vesture was studded with a vast number of diamonds 
and other precious stones, valued above one million dollars! 
The climax of absurdity was reached and the utmost height 
of folly scaled. Does the reader for a moment think that 
the circle of wealthy snobs to which this lady belongs has 
any regard to republican institutions? On the contrary, 
every sensible person knows that they are the bitter foes to 
every democratic impulse, and their extreme wealth 
enables them to make their hostility aggressive and effec- 


In the year 1890, young Astor, a scion of the celebrated 
family which has so long been prominent in New York 
financial circles, was married. Both the groom and the 
bride represented millions of wealth and the wedding was 
an imposing and gorgeous affair. Twenty-five thousand 
dollars were expended on the day's ceremony. The presents 
were valued at $2,000,000, and the couple and their attend- 
ants and a number of friends, immediately departed on an 
expensive yachting cruise which was to cost them $10,000 a 
month to maintain. In speaking of these nuptials the 


Clvris&ian Union said: "When we read this we are re- 
minded of Thackeray's description of the extravagance of 
the Prince Regent during the Napoleonic wars: 

"If he had been a manufacturing town, or a populous 
rural district, or an army of 5,000 men, he would not have 
cost more. The nation gave him more money, and more 
and more. The sum is past counting. 

"Looked at soberly, the sums lavished upon our Ameri- 
can commoners are as disgraceful to our institutions as 
were the squanderings of the Prince Regent to those of 
England. If the scandal is less it is because the disastrous 
concentration of hereditary wealth has as yet awakened less 
serious thought among us than the disastrous concentration 
of hereditary power had awakened in England. In the 
case of the Astors, quite as much as of the Prince Regent, 
the enormous sums expended are the gift of the Nation, 
obtained without compensating service on the part of the 
recipients. The burden upon the labor of the country is 
as great." 

a sportsman's dinner. 

Early in the present year, 1891, a well-known New York 
State Senator gave a notable banquet in honor of two dis- 
tinguished citizens of that State, both of whom are prom- 
inently mentioned in connection with the nomination for 
the Presidency of the United States. The following de- 
scription of the table and decorations appeared in the daily 
press at the time: 

"The library is upon the second floor of the club house, 
known for years to residents of this city as the Stewart 
Mansion. It is a large room, grandly furnished, and just 
the place for a dinner of this limited proportion. The table 
has been especially constructed for the occasion, and it is 
said that for two days a landscape gardener and a florist 
were employed in decorating it. A glance at it made this 
appreciable. Most of those present were ardent sportsmen, 
and to this instinct the table appealed in the strongest 
measure. It looked like an immense marsh, just the place 


for fowl, and up from the waters of the small lakes which 
dotted the view, four live diamond-backed terrapins shot 
up their heads every now and again and winked slyly at 
the guests. Cattail, ferns, grass and wild flowers hid the 
banks of the lakes, and amid this greenery staffed wild 
waterfowl hidden, as if in the attempt to escape the 
guns of the sportsman. In the center of the pool lay the 
gnarled stump of an immense oak, and imbedded- in this 
was a nest containing an egg for each of the guests." 


The following editorial appeared in the Kansas City 
Times, August 30, 1889 : 

"The contract for serving the banquet for the conven- 
tion of the American Bankers' Association was yesterday 
awarded to C. M. Hill, of the Midland Hotel. There were 
sixty competitors. The price is such as to insure one of 
the finest banquets ever served in this country. No ex- 
pense will be spared to make the affair a grand success, 
even aside from the menu. The banquet will be given in 
the Priests of Pallas' Temple, at Seventh and Lydia. It 
will be necessary to build and furnish an annex, where the 
cooking can be done for 1,500 covers. The preparations 
seem to take into contemplation a great flow of wine, as 
there will be six thousand wine glasses and about forty 
wine servers. There will be in all nearly three hundred 
waiters. It is estimated that the entire cost of the banquet 
will be from $15,000 to $20,000. Mr. Hill anticipates some 
difficulty in securing efficient waiters, and witk this partic- 
ular object in view, will make a trip to New York and 
Chicago. " 

This impious feast which took place in the very heart of 
the mortgage-ridden and debt-cursed West, was the most 
shocking and brazen exhibition of wanton extravagance 
and bad morals combined, which the laboring millions of 
America were ever called upon to behold. What a trav- 
esty upon common sense and the ordinary instinct of self- 


preservation to intrust the finances of a great Nation and 
the welfare of labor to the hands of such men. 

This carousal was but history repeating itself. It is not 
necessary in our day that an armless hand shall come out 
of the darkness and write the decree of Heaven upon the 
wall of the palace while the drunken carousal is being 
held, as in the time of Belshazzar; nor does it now require 
an expert Hebrew prophet, like Daniel, to disclose to the 
King that the sword is about to enter, and that a greater 
than Darius is thundering at the gates of Babylon, com- 
missioned from on high to restore the stolen treasures of 
the temple, and to transfer the kingdom to another. Bel- 
shazzar and his courtiers were not first-class scholars, nor 
were they close students of passing events. Tyrants, and 
those who carouse and forget the poor rarely are. They 
could neither read the writiDg nor tell what it signified, and 
so they called in an expert — a man of simple habits — who 
preferred to mourn in captivity rather than to share in the 
robbery of his race or to enjoy the favor of the King. The 
writiDg in our day is in plain English, and the children of 
the captivity and all, except the drunken worshippers of 
mammon, can interpret its meaning without difficulty. 


About the time these princely entertainments were given, 
and in the same year with some of them, one of the metro- 
politan journals caused a careful canvass to be made of the 
unemployed of that city. The number was found to be 
one hundred and fifty thousajid persons who were daily 
unsuccessfully seeking work within the city limits of New 
York. Another one hundred and fifty thousand earn less 
than sixty cents per day. Thousands of these are poor 
girls who work from eleven to sixteen hours per day. 


In the year 1890, over twenty-three thousand families, 
numbering about one hundred thousand people, were forci- 
bly evicted in New York City owing to their inability to 
pay rent, and one-tenth of all who died in that city during 
the year were buried in the Potters Field. 

In the Arena for June, 1891, will be found a description 
of tenement house horrors, by Mr. B. O. Flower. He has 
done a valuable service to humanity by laying before the 
world the result of his investigations. After describing a 
family whose head was unable to find work, Mr. Flower 

"This poor woman supports her husband, her two chil- 
dren and herself, by making pants at twelve cents a pair. 
No rest, no surcease, a perpetual grind from early dawn, 
often till far into the night; and what is more appalling, 
outraged nature has rebelled; the long months of semi- 
starvation and lack of sleep have brought on rheumatism, 
which has settled in the joints of her fingers, so that every 
stitch means a throb of pain. The afternoon we called she 
was completing an enormous pair of custom-made pants of 
very fine blue cloth, for one of the largest clothing houses 
in the city. The suit would probably bring sixty or sixty- 
five dollars, yet her employer graciously informed his poor 
white slave that as the garment was so large he would give 
her an extra cent. Thirteen cents for fine custom-made 
pants, manufactured for a wealthy firm, which repeatedly 
asserts that its clothing is not made in tenement houses! 
Thus with one of the most painful diseases enthroned in 
that part of the body which must move incessantlj' - from 
dawn till midnight, with two small dependent children and 
a husband powerless to help her, this poor woman struggles 
bravely, confronted ever by a nameless dread of impend- 
ing misfortune. Eviction, sickness, starvation — such are 
the ever present spectres, while every year marks the 
steady encroachment of disease and the lowering of the 
register of vitality. Moreover, from the window ot her 
soul f alls the light of no star athwart the pathway of life. 


"In another tenement Mr. Flower found a poor widow 
with three children, making pants at twelve cents a pair. 
One of the children had been engaged, since she was two 
and one-half years old, in overcasting the long seams of 
the garments, made by her mother ! In the attic of another 
tenement a widow was found weeping and working by the 
side of a cradle where lay a sick child, whose large lum- 
inous eyes shone with almost phosphorescent brilliancy 
from great cavernous sockets, as they wandered from one 
to another, with a wistful, soul-querying gaze. Its fore- 
head was large and prominent, so much so that looking at 
the upper part of the head one would little imagine the 
terrible emaciation of the body, which was little more than 
skin and bones, and the sight of which spoke more 
eloquently than words of the ravages of slow starvation 
and wasting disease. The woman was weeping because 
she had been notified that if one week's rent was not paid 
on Saturday she would be evicted, which meant death to 
her child who was suffering from a rupture, and for whom 
she was unable to purchase a truss. 

"The making at home of clothing, cigars, etc., in New 
York and Brooklyn is paid at prices on which no women 
could live were there not other workers in the family. 
Some of their occupations involved great risks to girls, 
such as the loss of joints, of fingers, of the hand, or some- 
times of the whole arm. 

"One of the official statisticans says upon this subject: 
' The tenement house S}^stem of work and the large influx 
of foreign immigration in ]Sew York City affected women 
workers more than any other class of laborers. The moral 
condition of the working women is influenced for evil b)' 
the tenement house home in a way too vast for discussion 
here. One noteworthy cause of immorality is the taking 
of men as lodgers for the sake of extra income. Another 
is the long distance girls are compelled to traverse after 
dark, especially on leaving stores which remain open till 
ten or eleven o'clock on Saturday night. Another is the 
working of friendless young women in the metropolis, 
where they live without home restraint, suffering every 
conceivable discomfort, subject to long periods of idleness, 
which they often enter upon with an empty purse. And 


yet, the truest heroism of life and conduct may be found 
here beneath rags and dirt. As far as ventilation is con- 
cerned, a properly regulated work-shop is the exception. 
The average room is either stuffy and close, or hot and 
close, and even where windows abound they are seldom 
opened. Toilet facilities are generally scant and inade- 
quate, a hundred workers being dependent sometimes on 
a closet or sink, and that, too, often out of order.' 

"There are many factories in the rooms of which from 
one hundred to two hundred women and men are packed 
like sardines in a box, with little or no ventilation, troubled 
by the inconveniences of steam, smoke, darkness, and all 
sorts of stenches intensified by heat. In many cases no 
provisions exist for escaping the danger of fire and other 
disasters. There are industries in which the rooms are con- 
stantly filled with dust, causing dangerous diseases of the 
organs of respiration. Rheumatism is caused by dampness 
in laundries, dyeing and meat packing establishments, can- 
neries, etc. Rattling machinery has caused many women 
to become hard of hearing; excessive heat affects their entire 
system, andin food factories salt and spices givethem asthma 
and bronchitis. Thousands of women who run sewing ma- 
chines or are compelled to stand all day die of consumption 
and other diseases. The moral conditions of the shops vary 
with the nature of the occupation, the character of the fore- 
men or forewomen, and the interest the proprietor takes in 
his employes. Wherever the sexes work together indiscri- 
minately great laxity obtains, and in many an instance the 
employers openly declare that so long as their work is done 
they do not inquire or care how bad the girls may be. 

"•Considering the cost of living, wages are little, if any, 
higher in New York than in other cities. 

"In some shops week workers are locked out for the half 
day if late, or docked for every minute of time lost, an ex- 
tra fine being often added. Fining for bad work is general. 
The shop rules are stringent in most cases, and in certain 
industries wages are reduced b}^ charges for machine rent, 
cotton, repairs, etc., to an extent not obtaining elsewhere. 
r J lie seamstresses constitute the poorest class and a regular 
system of fraud is practiced upon these defenceless crea- 
tures. For instance: A standing advertisement is kept in 


the papers asking for girls to do tailor sewing. When one 
applies she is told that it will take her several weeks to 
learn, but that good wages will afterwards be paid. The 
girl accepts and goes to work, and after four or five weeks 
demands pay. Then she is told she is not satisfactory and 
cannot be employed. Thus many hundreds of poor girls 
not only give their labor for nothing but supply their own 
machines to the fraudulent factory, thereby saving the 
bosses a considerable outlay. 

"The boarding houses where working women are com- 
pelled to live have for the most part bare and filthy floors, 
broken or blackened window panes and ricket} r furniture. 
Meager meals of ill-selected and ill-cooked food, the sights, 
sounds and smells of the filthy surroundings — these consti- 
tute the home comforts provided by these cheap boarding 
and lodging houses. Two girls are sometimes crowded into 
a little hall chamber, carpetless and tireless; three, and even 
four share a larger room without comfort or convenience. 
The dining room is often the family kitchen, living room 
and laundr} 7 . The sleeping rooms are so cold in winter 
that failing utterly to keep warm until the hour for retiring, 
the girls are allured b}r the warmth and brightness of the 
dance houses and saloons, where they must of necessity, 
meet undesirable and unsafe acquaintances." 


The Kev. Walter J. Swaffield, of the Baptist Bethel, 
Boston, relates in the Arena for February, 1891, the follow- 
ing facts which came under his personal observation while 
visiting the poor of his parish: 

"On the fifth floor of an over-crowded tenement house 
in the north end of Boston, a sick man, wife and six chil- 
dren were found huddled together in two dingy, smoky 
rooms, neither of them larger than 8x8, for which the}' - had 
to pay one dollar and a half per week. The only means 
of support they had was the uncertain revenue derived by 
the woman for making pants. She could seldom earn 
more than two dollars and a quarter per week, leaving but 
seventy-five cents with which to clothe and support the 


family. For six years that woman had worn the same 
dress, while the children had but one or a part of one gar- 
ment apiece. 

"'Another family of seven persons, invalid husband, wife 
and five children were crowded in a room hardly large 
enough for two persons. All the furniture in the room 
was an old borrowed stove, one broken chair, and a broken 
bedstead, no cooking utensils. The children had scarcely 
a rag on them, and for their dinner was eating sliced raw 
potatoes. They had not tasted bread for three days, nor 
meat for weeks. One week after our visit, another child 
was born into the family, only to die of starvation and cold 
for the poor mother had no nourishment to give it, no fuel 
nor fire for two days, and was dependent upon the kind- 
ness of a widow in the next room for a warm place beside 
her fire. 

"In another house was an American family of six persons 
living in two rooms rented at one dollar and a half a week. 
The man out of work, not a morsel of food in the place, no 
fuel or fire, the only articles of furniture being a stove, a 
small trunk, a dry goods box, and on the floor in the cor- 
ner of the room a heap of seaweed which was their only 
bed. It had been gathered from the beach the day before. 

"Not far from this family was found another room full of 
poor and suffering ones without food or fire, in the depth 
of winter. The four eldest children huddled together in 
bed at noontime to keep each other warm, while the hun gry 
and crying baby was blue with cold in the bosom of its 
starving mother. 

"A widow, left with five little children has to support her- 
self and family, and pay one dollar and a half per week 
rent for two small rooms. Her only hope is in securing 
pants enough to make at fourteen cents a pair. In order 
to keep body and soul together she must teach the two lit- 
tle girls "Constance" and "Maggie," aged five and three 
how to sew, and thus do their part in keeping the wolf from 
the door. These two babies work early and late, the five- 
year-old seamstress overcasting the long seams of four pairs 
of pants a da} r , and the three-year-old dot managing tc 
overcast two pairs. They handle the needle like profes- 
sionals. Mother and two daughters together thus earn 


from two dollars and a quarter to two dollars and a half a 
week, after paying rent having but a single dollar left to 
feed and clothe the whole family. 

''The time of my visit was near the dinner hour, but all 
the preparation for the principal meal of the day was the 
stirring of corn meal into boiling water. " 


In the latter part of the year 1891, a committee from 
a Chicago Trade and Labor Assembly, at the request of a 
body of striking cloakmakers, made an investigation of 
the condition of that class of workers in the city. They 
were accompanied by an officer of the City Health Depart- 
ment, the City Attorney and artists and reporters of the 
local press. They found that thirteen thousand persons 
were engaged in the manufacture of clothing in Chicago, 
over one-half of whom were females. In order to reduce 
the cost of production the firms engaged in the manufac- 
ture of clothing have adopted the European Sweating 
System, which is in brief, as follows: The material for 
garments is cut to size and shape and delivered by the 
large firms to individual contractors known as sweaters, 
who relieve the firm of all other care or expense, taking 
the goods to what are known as sweating dens, usually 
located in the poorest neighborhoods of the great city. 
These sweaters are employed by the most opulent firms. 
The committee visited a large number of these dens, 
nearly all of which were dwelling houses which served as 
living and sleeping rooms for the sweater's family and the 
employes. In one room ten feet by .forty, they found 
thirty-nine young girls, twelve children between ten and 
twelve years of age, eleven men and the sweater and his 
wife. The room and all the surroundings were filthy in the 
extreme. The rates of wages were of course very low, 
and yet the fear of discharge rendered it almost impossible 


to obtain satisfactory information. The committee found 
two thousand one hundred children at work in these dis- 
mal places who were under age and employed in violation 
of existing laws against child labor. Sanitary laws were 
also overridden in all of these miserable abodes. We 
take the following from the report of the committee: 

"The condition of the places visited was horrible. Over- 
crowding, long hours and low pay were the rule. Girls ten 
years old were found to be working ten and twelve hours a 
day for 80 cents per week. Ten girls were found, none 
over ten years old, who worked sixteen hours a day for 
from 75 cents to $1.20 per week. In a DeKoven street 
den were found a half dozen men working eighteen hours 
a day for from $1 to $9 per week. At 168 Maxwell street 
were found ten men that worked sixteen hours a day each 
and received $6.50 to $9 per week. In the same place 
were six girls working from two to fourteen hours a day 
whose weekly pay averaged $3. One child was found in a 
house that worked for 75 cents per week. At 455 South 
Canal street a girl was found who declined to tell what she 
received fearing she would be discharged, and discharge 
meant starvation. A 69 Judd street the wages of the men 
were found to be from $5 to $9 per week, and one child 
there received Si per week. The women worked fourteen 
hours a day. The product of this shop was sold to Mar- 
shall Field & Co. At 151 Peoria street, is a cloak-finishing 
establishment. Here the women receive one and one-half 
cents each for finishing cloaks. One woman was found on 
the street with a bundle of cloaks she had finished. She 
said that by hard work she finished twenty cloaks a day 
and earned thirty cents. This supported herself and two 
babies. The place 258 Division street was by far the 
worst visited. Eleven men worked twelve hours a day 
and received $5 to $9.50 per week. Twelve children here 
worked twelve hours for 75 cents per week. The place 
was terribly crowded, there being no water or light. " 

And yet in the face of these glaring conditions, which are 
common in all of our populous cities, empty headed politi- 


cal charlatans still vex the public with their puerile rant 
about protection for American labor. 


At the close of the year of our Lord 1891, while the 
Christian world was celebrating the lowly birth in the 
manger at Bethlehem, and while the wretched sweaters of 
Chicago were bending their aching backs in their dismal 
prisons, a wealthy merchant of that city moved into his re- 
splendent mansion which had just been finished for his 
reception. He celebrated the event with a week of festiv- 
ity. One of the local papers gave the following descrip- 
tion of this palace: 

"It is located on Michigan boulevard and Thirty-fourth 
street, and has been in the course of construction for nearly 
two years. Among its principal features is an immense 
ball-room, which includes a completely fitted stage, a com- 
plete barber shop, a music room, which is divided by Mex- 
ican onyx columns from a conservatory, and one of the 
finest private libraries in the country. On the floor of the 
drawing room is a large aubixon rug, woven in one piece, 
the cost of which alone was upwards of ten thousand dol- 
lars. The floor of the large reception room is of Italian 
marble mosaic, and one of its attractive features is an old 
moorish fireplace. The dining room walls are finished in 
old tapestry of almost fabulous value. The bath rooms are 
white marble and onyx, the main one having an onyx 
wainscoting five feet in height, and above this a frescoing 
of pond lily design. There are study rooms for the youth- 
ful members of the family, while the apartments that have 
been reserved for guests would almost compare with the 
descriptions that have been handed down of portions of 
the interior of Solomon's temple." 


The following dispatch from London concerning the 
recent Westphalia strike, is enough to shock the sensibil- 
ities of Christendom and fill the world with mourning: 


London, April 28, 1891. — "A Berlin dispatch says that 
the severe measures of depression in Westphalia have had 
their effect and the strikers are thoroughly cowed. Many 
of their families are in a starving condition and expected 
remittances from Belgium and England have not arrived. 
The strikers are not permitted to hold meetings and if a 
few are seen gathering they are at once scattered by the 
police. Consequently they have little opportunity to 
arrange for common action." 


About the close of the recent Jackson Park World's Fair 
strike, we clipped from the columns of one of the Chicago 
dailies the following local editorial. Speaking of the poor 
strikers the paper said: 

u The outlook discouraged them. None had any great 
supply of money and few had places to sleep. The out- 
look was altogether discouraging, and was made even more 
so by the action of the police, who broke up the picket 
lines as fast as the}'' were formed, and even refused to allow 
them to congregate in any numbers. 

About 9 o'clock in the morning a hundred or so weary 
strikers were stretched in the sun on the prairie near Park- 
side endeavoring to get some sleep, when word was passed 
for a meeting at Sixty-seventh street and Stony Island 
avenue. By 9:30 o'clock two hundred men had congre- 
gated there and Dr. Willoughby, the owner of the lot, 
objected. He notified the police that he did not want any 
trespassing on his premises, and Lieut. Rehm and a squad 
of ten officers were dispatched to the scene. He ordered 
the strikers to disperse, but they failed to obey with alac- 
rity, and the police had to drive them off. There was some 
slight resistance, and several heads suffered in consequence 
from contact with policemen's batons." 

We trust the brief ] a^es of this chanter mav suffice to 
call the attention of the reader to the ghastly condition of 
American society and to remind him of the imperative call 
which ie made upon him as an individual to do all in his 


power to arrest the alarming tendencies of our times. In 
the opinion of the writer, unless the people of America 
shall immediately take political matters into their own 
hands, the contrasts suggested in this chapter portend a 
tragic future. The millionaire and the pauper cannot, in 
this country, long dwell together in peace, and it is idle to 
attempt to patch up a truce between them. Enlightened 
self respect and a quickened sense of justice are impelling 
the multitude to demand an interpretation of the anomal- 
ous spectacle, constantly presented before their eyes, of a 
world filled with plenty and yet multitudes of people 
suffering for all that goes to make life desirable. They 
are calling to know why idleness should dwell in luxury 
and those who toil in want; and they are inquiring why 
one-half of God's children should be deprived of homes 
upon a planet which is large enough for all. The world 
will find a solution for these insufferable afflictions in the 
glorious era but just ahead. Even now the twilight dis- 
closes the outlines of a generous inheritance for all and 
we hear the chirping of sweet birds making ready to 
welcome with melody and gladness the advent of the^ full 
orbed day. 




The spirit of the corporation is aggressive and essentially 
warlike. Having usurped Sovereign power by stealth 
when the people were slumbering — having seized the great 
instruments of commerce and captured the sources of 
wealth and the outlets of trade, the managers of these insti- 
tutions naturally fear an outbreak among the victims of 
their rapacity. They quietly and very naturally seek to 
control Government — both State and National — and 
through them the army and militia. But they do not stop 
here. They equip an army of their own which they can 
call into active service at any time and transport with celer- 
ity from point to point. The skeleton of this organization 
is kept constantly in their employ. They have a Com- 
mander-in-chief, Allen Pinkerton, with a staff of subordi- 
nate officers, and generally the men employed under them 
are ignorant, insolent, cruel and blood-thirsty. From the 
best information which can be obtained they now number 
thirty-two thousand men, which makes the force about 
seven thousand stronger than the Regular Army of the 
United States. They are not all constantly employed but 
are subject to orders at any time. 

The student of history will readily recall the historic 
parallel of this. The wealthy barons of Italy resorted to 
the same expedient under the feudal sj'stem. Single indi- 
viduals controlled the vast sources of supply and owned 


and dominated vast areas and even whole provinces of the 
country. These powerful barons kept in their employ a 
class of men called "bravos, " whose brutal and lawless 
character rendered them the scourge of their time and a 
terror to the defenseless. They were expert in assassina- 
tion and always at the bidding of those who desired to rid 
themselves of dangerous enemies or troublesome neighbors. 
The feudal barons find their counterpart in our railroad, 
iron, coal, and oil kings, and in the controlling spirits of 
the vast corporations and trusts of the country, whilst our 
modern Pinkertons answer to the bravos. The bravos 
were the hired and secret police of the wealthy barons. 
The Pinkertons are the hired police or rather the invisible 
standing army of our modern corporations; and both baron 
and corporate king, bravos and Pinkertons, owe their 
origin to the same causes, though operating in widely sep- 
arated centuries. 

The surrender of the Sovereign functions of Government 
to private individuals is a shameful betrayal of a sacred 
trust. When these Sovereign powers are used for the 
accumulation of vast and overshadowing private fortunes 
the outrage has culminated, and general discontent quickly 
ensues. This has been the result in all ages and among 
all peoples. When Government surrenders its rightful 
powers to individuals, to that extent it is dissolved — at 
least its powers are in abeyance, and the transition to force 
and violence is then both easy and natural. The baron 
himself sees and feels that it is unreasonable to expect the 
multitude to faithfully guard those who are depredating 
upon them, and hence some one must be hired for this pur- 
pose. When hired the bravo or Pinkerton recognizes his 
employer as his superior officer whom it is his dut}' to obey. 
Can any one call this Democratic Government ? It is ter- 
rorism and force dealt out at the hands of mercenaries and 


hirelings. Necessary force, prudently, but firmly exercised 
by the regular constituted authorities, always meets with 
the approval of well-disposed citizens and is rarely ever 
resisted, except where the [repressive policy, long estab- 
lished, is unaccompanied by any effort or intention to 
remove abuses. Even under such circumstances men are 
more disposed to submit to injustice than they are to rebel. 
But chartered corporations for pecuniary profit exist only 
by usurpation, as we have demonstrated in our chapter on 
"Evolution in Crime," and the spirit of audacity remains 
with them. Having usurped the functions of the State they 
feel that they are the State, and do not hesitate to inso- 
lently exercise its power. 

These hirelings now infest all our populous cities, prowl 
around every mining district and patrol every labor and 
manufacturing center in the country. If a strike or a lock- 
out occurs, the Pinkertons are first to put in an appsarance. 
Public sentiment is everywhere opposed to their presence 
and interference in labor troubles. But this does not deter 
them in the least. They do not command the peace. They 
terrorize the people and provoke to riot. It is the State's 
duty to protect both life and property as well as to keep 
the peace between its subjects. A failure to discharge this 
duty breeds distrust and seriously undermines popular 
respect for the authority of the state. 

Some of the States of the Union are completely dominated 
by corporate influence and even recognize the Pinkerton 
policy in their laws. This is notably the case in Pennsyl- 
vania. The following laws enacted in 1865-6, are now in 
full force in that State: 

"19. Any corporation owning or using a railroad in this 
state may apply to the Governor to commission such per- 
sons as said corporation may designate, to act as police- 
man for said corporation. 


"20. The Governor, upon such application, may appoint 
such persons, or so many of them as he may deem proper, 
to be such policemen, and shall issue to such persons, so 
appointed, a commission to act as such policemen. 

"21. Every policeman so appointed shall, before enter- 
ing upon the duties of his office, take and subscribe the 
oath required by the eighth article of the Constitution, 
before the recorder of any county through which the rail- 
road, for which said policeman is appointed, shall be 
located; which oath, after being duly recorded by such 
recorder, shall be hied in the office of the Secretary of 
State, and a certified copy of such oath, made by the 
recorder of the proper county, shall be recorded with the 
commission through or into which the railroad for which 
the policeman is appointed, may run, and in which it is 
intended the said policeman shall act; and such policeman 
so appointed, shall severally possess and exercise all the 
powers of policemen in the city of Philadelphia, in the 
several counties in which they shall be so authorized to act 
as aforesaid, and the keepers of jails or lock-ups or station- 
houses, in any of the said counties are required to receive 
all persons arrested by said policemen for the commission 
of an offense against the laws of this Commonwealth, upon 
or along said railroad, or the premises of any such corpor- 
ation, to be dealt with according to law. 

"22. Such railroad police shall, when on duty, severally 
wear a metallic shield, with the words "railway police," 
and the name of the corporation for which appointed, in- 
scribed thereon; and said shield shall always be worn in 
plain view, except when employed as detectives. 

"23. The compensation of such police shall be paid by 
the companies, for which the policemen are respectively 
appointed, as may be agreed upon between them." 

By the act of April 11, 1866, the above act was extended 
so as to embrace "all corporations, firms, or individuals 
owning, leasing or being in possession of any colliery, fur- 
naces, or rolling mills within the commonwealth." 

The words "Coal and Iron Police" are engraved on the 
shield of policemen appointed under this act. 



This statute simply transfers to the corporations, and e^en 
to individuals, the most delicate and one of the most im- 
portant powers of the State, the power to preserve the pub- 
lic peace and to protect the life and the property of 
citizens. It makes the superintendent of the rolling mills, 
the colliery, the furnace, or the yardmaster at a railroad 
station, the judge of when life shall be taken or when the 
citizen shall be deprived of his liberty. It will be noted 
that these corporation policemen wear the badge of their 
masters and are paid by them, and, of course, are subject 
to their orders. When, however, it suits the wishes of the 
corporation managers to send "detectives among their work- 
men to insnare them and to manufacture excuses for their 
discharge or arrest, then, as the reader will observe, the law 
provides that the badge or shield may be omitted. The cor- 
poration may then send hired spies among the toilers, bear- 
ing the commission of the State and receiving such com- 
pensation as may have been "agreed upon" between them- 
selves and their masters. The State is thus made a party 
to the petty persecutions of those whose business it is to 
put labor to the rack and becomes a party to a system of 
surveillance which is both despicable and cruel. This tends 
to violence and public tumult and is subversive of good 
order and social security. 


The recent Chicago strikes, the street car strikes at New 
York, the long to be remembered railroad strike in the 
Southwest and the troubles of 1886-7, in the Pennsylvania 
coal regions, as well as the more recent bloody encounters 
in the coke manufacturing sections of that State, have all 
been aggravated by the presence of these hirelings. 


The bloody transaction which took place at the Morewood 
works, near Greensburg, Pa., on the morning of April 2, 
1891, will serve to illustrate the operation of the statute 
given above, and will call attention to the direful conse- 
quences which are sure to follow the introduction of corpor- 
ation police and spies into American labor districts and 
cities. The following account is taken from the associate 
press dispatch concerning the Greensburg affair which 
appeared in all the papers of April 2, 1891: 

"The deputies who took part in the riot were all full 
grown, experienced men, and they were armed to the teeth. 
More deliberate arrangements for contemplated trouble 
were never made. Last night Superintendent Picard sum- 
moned his deputies and told them a raid was contemplated 
on the works. He formed them into a line and examined 
the firearms of each one. He then presented them with 
Winchester rifles, drilled them in the use of the weapon 
and ordered them on duty. "When the}* - were retiring Super- 
intendent Picard, said: 

"I will be in command. I have received positive infor- 
mation that our works are to be raided. I have promised 
protection to our men and I must give it. When the raid- 
ers come, obey me. Fire the first shot into the air. If the 
raiders do not retreat, fire the second shot and keep on fir- 
ing while you have ammunition. Protect the company's 
property, protect the men at work and protect your own 
lives. The man in my employ who runs I will shoot dead 
on the spot. Any man who is not willing to accept my 
terms will please drop into the rear and I will send him 
home under guard. 

"There was no one dropped back. All the deputies 
looked grim and serious and awaited further orders. 

"Is everybody satisfied?" asked the Superintendent. 

"Yes, yes all," rang out all along the line. Each man 
was provided with twenty-six cartridges and taken to a con- 
venient point." 

"Superintendent Picard," who was "in command" was 
an employe of the corporation whose works were supposed 


to be in danger, and was acting under the authority of the 
Pennsylvania statute above recited. The men under him 
were hired police and their names were on the corporation 

On the morning of April 2, a company of laborers were 
observed marching up the street in the direction of the Com- 
pany's stables. This was taken as foreshadowing an attack 
upon the Corupan}^ property, and the "deputies" were at 
once ordered to open fire. Result, nine men killed and 
twenty-seven wounded. Accounts differ as to the provoca- 
tion. Grave doubt is expressed by disinterested citizens as 
to whether there was any purpose on the part of the strik- 
ers to harm either persons or property, and the question as 
to who gave the order to fire is in dispute between the 
Superintendent and his lackeys. This dispute of itself 
shows the absence of any well defined provocation; for if 
there was any imminent danger there would be no disposi- 
tion to deny giving the order. One of the strikers made 
the following statement concerning the firing: 

" I was with the body of men on the bridge and stopped 
for a moment to light my cigar. There is no doubt that 
rumors of bombs had filled the minds of the guards, for 
they took the lighting of my cigar as portending something 
dangerous. The guards then fired directly toward the 
point where I stood and the men fell all around me. We 
fled instanly, only leaving men enough to stand by our 
fallen comrades, some twenty in all. Aftei the shooting I 
heard some one in command of the guards exclaim: "Don't 
be too quick." 

Another dispatch dated April 2, 1891, announced the 

arrival of five hundred Pinkerton detectives in the coke 

regions. Their introduction caused great indignation and 

exasperation among the laborers as might well have been 




It is the plain duty of the Governors of the various States 
to forbid the presence of private police within their States 
and especially at points where trouble is anticipated. And 
if they make their appearance they should be dealt with 
like all disturbers of the peace and be punished for their 
unlawful assumption of power. Where the laws wink at 
the use of such police force, the Governor, as the law is 
not mandatory, should refuse to appoint and commission 
them. There is ample power in the various States to pre- 
serve the peace and to protect life and property without the 
assistance of these modern bravos. 

State Legislatures should at once pass stringent laws 
forbidding the employment of this disturbing force within 
their borders. They are only calculated to precipitate riots 
and bloodshed, and they endanger both life and property. 
It is the solemn duty of the State to protect the lives and 
property of its citizens, aud regularly constituted officials 
should always be in command in times of public danger. 



A Trust is defined to be a combination of many compet- 
ing concerns under one management. The object is to 
increase profits through reduction of cost, limitation of 
product and increase of the price to the consumer. The 
term is now applied, and very properly, to all kinds of 
combinations in trade which relate to prices, and without 
regard to whether all or onl} 7 part of the objects named 
are had in view. 

Combinations which we now call trusts have existed in 
this country for a considerable period, but they have only 
attracted general attention for about ten years. "We have 
in our possession copies of the agreements of the Standard 
Oil and Sugar Trusts, The former is dated January 2, 
1882, and the latter August 6, 1887. 

Trusts vary somewhat in their forms of organization. 
This is caused by the character of the property involved 
and the variety of objects to be attained. The great trusts 
of the country consist of an association or consolidation of 
a number of asseciations engaged in the same line of 
business — each company in the trust being first separately 
incorporated. The stock of these companies is then turned 
over to a board of trustees who issue back trust certificates 
in payment for the stock transferred. The trust selects its 
own board of directors and henceforth has complete con- 
trol of the entire business and can regulate prices, limit or 


stimulate production as they may deem beet for the parties 
concerned in the venture. The trust itself is not neces- 
sarily incorporated. Many of the strongest, such as the 
"Standard Oil Trust," the "Sugar Trust," and "The 
American Cotton Seed Oil Trust" and others are not. 
They are the invisible agents of associated artificial in- 
tangible beings. They are difficult to find, still harder to 
restrain and so far as present experience has gone they are 
practically a law unto themselves. 

The power of these institutions has grown to be almost 
incalculable. Trustees of the Standard Oil Trust have 
issued certificates to the amount of $90,000,000, and each 
certificate is worth to-day $165 in the market, which makes 
their real capital at least $148,500,000, to say nothing of 
the added strength of their recent European associations. 
They have paid quarterly dividends since their organiza- 
tion in 1882. The profits amount to 820,000,000 per year. 
The Trust is managed by a Board of Trustees all of whom 
reside in New York. The combine really began in 1869, 
but the present agreement dates no further back than Jan- 
uary, 1882. The only record kept of the meetings of these 
Trustees is a note stating that the minutes of the previous 
meeting were read and approved. The minutes themselves 
are then destroyed. These facts were brought to light by 
an investigation before the New York Senate February, 
1888. Col. George Bliss and Gen. Koger A. Pryor acted 
as council for the people and a great many things were 
t brought out concerning the Standard, and a multitude 
of other combines, which had not before been well under- 
stood. John D. Rockefeller, Charles Pratt, Henry M. 
Eogers, H. M. Flagler, Benjamin Brewster, J. N. Archi- 
bald, William Rockefeller and W. H. Tilford are the trustees 
and they personally own a majority of the stock. Seven 
hundred other persons own the remainder. This trust holds 


the stock of forty-two corporations, extending into thirte^E 
States. The Cotton Seed Oil Trust holds the stock oi 
eighty-five corporations extending into fifteen States. 

Trust combinations now dominate the following products 
and divisions of trade: Kerosene Oil, Cotton Seed Oil, 
Sugar, Oat meal, Starch, White Corn Meal, Straw Paper, 
Pearled Barley, Coal, Straw Board, Lumber, Castor Oil, 
Cement, Linseed Oil, Lard, School Slate, Oil Cloth, Salt, 
Cattle, Meat Products, Gas, Street Railways, Whisky, 
Paints, Rubber, Steel, Steel Rails, Steel and Iron Beams, 
Cars, Nails, Wrought Iron Pipes, Iron Nuts, Stoves, Lead, 
Copper, Envelopes, Wall Paper, Paper Bags, Paving Pitch, 
Cordage, Coke, Reaping, Binding and Mowing Machines, 
Threshing Machines, Plows, Glass, Water Works, Ware 
houses, Sand Stone, Granite, Upholsterers' Felt, Lead Pen- 
cils, Watches and Watch Cases, Clothes Wringers, Carpets, 
Undertakers' Goods and Coffins, Planes, Breweries, Mill- 
ing, Flour, Silver Plate, Plated Ware and a vast variety of 
other lines of trade. 

The Standard Oil and its complement, the American 
Cotton Oil Trust, were the advance oruard of the vast army 
of like associations which have overrun and now occupy 
every section of the country and nearly all departments of 
trade. The Standard has developed into an international 
combine and has brought the world under its yoke. In 1890 
the largest German and Dutch petroleum houses fell under 
the control of the Standard Oil Company, and the oil import- 
ing companies of Bremen, Hamburg and Stettin were united 
by the Standard into a German-American Petroleum Com- 
pany, with its seat at Bremen. In 1S91 the Paris Rothchilds, 
who control the Russian oil fields, effected a combination 
with the Standard Oil Trust, which makes the combine 
world wide; and so far as this important article of consump- 
tion* is concerned, it places all mankind at their mercy. 


Our information concerning this international oil trust is 
derived from the report concerning the Petroleum Monop- 
oly of Europe by Consul-General Edwards, of Berlin, made 
to the Secretary of State, June 25, 1891, and published in 
Consular Keports No. 131. 

Now that the Petroleum Combine has accomplished the 
conquest of the world, what is to hinder every other branch 
of business from accomplishing the same end? The Stand- 
ard has led the way and demonstrated the feasibility of 
such gigantic enterprises and others will doubtless be quick 
to follow. Already, indeed, the Anthracite coal barons 
have followed their example so far as this country is con- 
cerned, and the "Big Four," who control the meat products 
of this country, have reached out and subsidized the ship 
room and other facilities for international trade in that line. 
We hear also well authenticated rumors that other combi- 
nations, looking to the complete control of every branch of 
mercantile business, are already in existence and making 
what they regard as very satisfactory progress. 

The Sugar Trust, which now fixes the price of 3,000,- 
000,000 pounds of sugar annually consumed in the United 
States, is managed upon substantially the same plan as the 
Standard Oil Tru3t, and so, in fact, are all of the great 
combines. They rule the whole realm of commerce with a 
rod of iron and levy tribute upon the country amounting 
to hundreds of millions of dollars annualty — an imposition 
which the people would not think for a moment of submit- 
ting to if exacted by their Government. 


It is clear that trusts are contrary to public policy and 
hence in conflict with the Common law. They are monop- 
olies organized to destroy competition and restrain trade. 
Enlightened public policy favors competition in the present 

TRUSTS. 39] 

condition of organized society. It wa3 held in 1880, Cen 
tral Ohio Salt Company vs. Guthrie, 35 Ohio St., 666, thai 
a trust was illegal and void . The Pennsylvania courts 
held the same way against the Coal Trust of that State. 
Morris Coal Company vs. Yorday, 68 Pa. St., 173. 

In 1869 a coal company in New York had contracted tc 
buy coal from several firms upon condition that they would 
not sell coal to other persons in that locality. The party 
buying the coal did not pay for it, whereupon suit was 
brought to collect. The court refused to enforce the bar- 
gain, holding that the contract was illegal. Arnot vs. Pit- 
tison Coal Company, 68 N. Y., 558. The same rule was 
upheld by the* courts at Louisiana in 1859. In Illinois a 
Grain Dealer's Combine was held to be illegal. The ques- 
tion arose in a suit brought to compel a proper division of 
the profits. The court refused to enforce the agreement. 
See Croft vs. McConoughy, 79 111., 346. The same char- 
acter of decisions will be found in perhaps a majority of 
the States. Indeed, since the days when Coke was Lord 
Chief Justice of England, more than a century and a half 
ago, the courts in both England and America have held 
such combinations to be illegal and void. See "Case of 
the Monopolies," 11 Coke, 84. 

It is contended by those interested in Trusts that they 
tend to cheapen production and diminish the price of the 
article to the consumer. It is conceded that these results 
may follow temporarily and even permanently in some in- 
stances. But it is not the rule. When such effects ensue 
they are merely incidental to the controlling object of the 
association. Trusts are speculative in their purposes and 
formed to make money. Once they secure control of a 
given line of business they are masters of the situation and 
can dictate to the two great classes with which they deal — 
the producer of the raw material and the consumer of the 


finished product. They limit the price of the raw material 
so as to impoverish the producer, drive him to a single 
market, reduce the price of every class of labor connected 
with the trade, throw out of employment large numbers of 
persons who had before been engaged in a meritorious call- 
ing and finally, prompted by insatiable avarice, they in- 
crease the price to the consumer and thus complete the 
circle of their depredations. Diminished prices is the bribe 
which they throw into the market to propitiate the public. 
They will take it back when it suits them to do so. 

The Trust is organized commerce with the Golden Rule 
excluded and the trustees exempted from the restraints of 

They argue that competition means war and is there- 
fore destructive. The Trust is eminently docile and hence 
seeks to destro}' competition in order that we may have 
peace. But the peace which they give us is like that which 
exists after the leopard has devoured the kid. This pro- 
fessed desire for peace is a false pretense. They dread the 
war of competition because the people share in the spoils. 
When rid of that they always turn their guns upon the 
masses and depredate without limit or mere}'. The main 
weapons of the trust are threats, intimidation, bribery, 
fraud, wreck and pillage. Take one well authenticated 
instance in the history of the Oat Meal Trust as an ex- 
ample. In 1887 this Trust decided that part of their mills 
should stand idle. They were accordingly closed. This 
resulted in the discharge of a large number of laborers 
who had to suffer in consequence. The mills which were 
continued in operation would produce seven million bar- 
rels of meal during the year. Shortly after shutting down 
the Trust advanced the price of meal one dollar per barrel 
and the public was forced to stand the assessment. The 
mills were more profitable when idle than when in opera- 

TRUSTS. 39? 

The Sugar Trust has it within its power to levy a tribute 
of $30,000,000 upon the people of the United States by 
simply advancing the price of sugar one cent per pound 
for one year. 

If popular tumult breaks out and legislation in restraint 
of these depredations is threatened, they can advance prices, 
extort campaign expenses and corruption funds from the 
people and force the disgruntled multitude to furnish the 
sinews of war for their own destruction. They not only 
have the power to do these things, but it is their known 
mode of warfare and they actually practice it from year to 

The most distressing feature of this war of the Trusts is 
the fact that they control the articles which the plain 
people consume in their daily life. It cuts off their accum- 
ulations and deprives them of the staff upon which they 
fain would lean in their old age. 


For nearly three hundred years the Anglo-Saxon race 
has been trying to arrest the encroachments of monopoly 
and yet the evil has nourished and gained in strength from 
age to age. The courts have come to the aid of enlightened 
sentiment, pronounced all such combinations contraiy to 
public policy, illegal and their contracts void; and still they* 
have continued to thrive. Thus far repressive and prohib- 
itory legislation have proved unavailing. Experience has 
shown that when men, for the sake of gain, will openl}* 
violate the moral law and infringe upon the plain rights of 
their neighbors, they will not be restrained by ordinary 
prohibitory measures. It is the application of force to the 
situation and force must be met with force. The States 
should pass stringent penal statutes which will visit personal 
responsibility upon all agents and representatives of the 
trust who aid or assist in the transaction of its business 


within the State. The General Government, through its 
power to lay and collect taxes, should place an excise 
or internal revenue tax of from 25 to 40 per cent on all 
manufacturing plants, goods, wares or merchandise of 
whatever kind and wherever found when owned by 
or controlled in the interest of such combines or associ- 
ations, and this tax should be a first lien upon such prop 
erty until the tax is paid. The details of such a bill would 
not be difficult to frame. Such a law would destroy the 
Trust root and branch. Whenever the American people 
really try to overthrow these institutions they will be able 
to do so and to further postpone action is a crime. 


One of the main charges against Charles the First, was 
that he had fostered and created monopolies. His head 
went to the block. Nearly every great struggle of the 
English race has been caused by the unjust exactions of 
tribute — against the extortions of greed. Our own war 
for Independence was a war against taxes. Our late 
internal struggle was for the freedom of labor and the 
right of the laborer to possess and enjoy his own. That 
struggle is still on and it is now thundering at our gates with 
renewed energy. It will not down, though the Trust heap 
* Ossa upon Pelion. The people will rise and overturn the 
despoilers though they shake the earth by the displacement. 

These vast struggles are great teachers and the world is 
learning rapidly. We are coming to know that great com- 
binations reduce the cost of production and soon the world 
will grasp the idea that the people can combine and protect 
themselves. In this combine, in this co-operation of all, 
there will be no discrimination and the bounties of Heaven 
will be open alike to the weak and the powerful. We 
welcome the conflict. There is no time to lose nor can the 
battle begin too soon. 



The fundamental vice which underlies the National bank- 
ing system is this: It is the surrender of one of the highest 
duties and powers of the Government to the control of 
private speculators to be used for personal gain. It is an 
attempt to harmonize the interests of private adventure 
with the demands of the whole people at all times for a 
stable and adequate money supply. 

The experience of mankind, and particularly of this 
country, exhibits this oft repeated folly in a light which 
shows it to be little short of a stupendous crime. It is safe 
to say that there never was a bank of issue, in any country, 
which did not regulate the volume of its circulating notes, 
from first to last, in the interest of the stockholders as con- 
tra-distinguished from the interests of the public. General 
Jackson reduced the whole story to a single theorem when 
he declared that "the banks could not be relied upon to 
keep the currency uniform in amount." Those interested 
in banks of issue and the public at large are necessarily at 
cross-purposes. The man who has money to loan prefers 
that it shall be scarce in the market and the demand for it 
great. Those who are engaged in productive industry de- 
sire just the reverse — that it shall be plentiful and the 
demand light. The former theory makes usury the domi- 
nant business of the country, the latter exalts productive 
industry to the controlling position in the State. 


All civilized nations exist by cultivating the soil and by 
commercial pursuits which result therefrom. We draw our 
sustenance from the earth. The grain, the delicious fruit, 
animal food, our raiment and our shelter — all are directly 
or indirectly derived from the soil. But the products of 
the earth are bulky, cumbersome and hence difficult to 
exchange. If the world were restricted to barter our crops 
would decay in the fields and rot in our bins. To make 
the product of the earth available to modern society some 
method of transferring — some medium of exchanging com- 
modities must be found. The State does not claim the 
power to designate by law who shall engage in agriculture, 
who in horticulture, who in this calling and who in that. 
All this is wisely left to individual choice. But it is appar- 
ent that the creation of the medium b} r means of which all 
commodities are to be exchanged is beyond the scope of 
individual enterprise. To confide it to individual pursuit 
is to introduce chaos instead of order, conflict instead of 

The power to designate our circulating medium and the 
duty of supplying the same are properly lodged in trust 
with the law making body which represents the whole 
people. Every charter, therefore, held by a bank of issue 
is a confession under seal of a gross betrayal of this public 
trust. It is manifest that the power which all the people 
and the very construction of society demand shall be with- 
held from individual control and lodged in the Govern- 
ment cannot be surrendered by our law makers without the 
grossest betrayal of public duty. 

Would it were within our power to chain the attention 
of the reader to this one thought and to render it impos- 
sible for him to advance or to lay down this book, until 
the criminal enormity of this feature of our financial sys- 
tem is completly understood. Realizing fully the correl- 


ative duties of Government to make the money for the 
people and to prescribe the channels through which it shall 
pass into circulation, we would arouse him to the fact that 
his Government, with this sacred work in charge, actually 
passes the public credit to associated speculators at one 
per cent per annum on the dollar, and then authorizes 
these favorites to dole it out to the people at six, eight, ten 
and twelve times as much interest as they pay to the 
Government for its use. That this is the exclusive and 
only channel- through which this monetized public credit 
can reach the people, and that no citizen can get a dollar 
of it except upon the terms prescribed by these commis- 
sioned usurers who are authorized to extort toll from the 
people that they may place it in their own private purses ! 
What right have these men to sell the public credit? It 
does not belong to them. Whence did Congress derive 
the power to sell it to anybody ? Unfortunately the people 
have not thus far fully realized the great wrong under 
which they are suffering. They all feel the effect, but the 
majority have been blind to its cause. It seems beyond 
the pale of belief that our Government, in searching for a 
proper channel through which to put out the money, would 
deliberately pass by the great army of wealth producers, 
the tax-payers and those who must be relied upon to 
defend the flag, and select an association of speculators 
and throw the money into their laps and clothe them with 
the power to tax the people for its use. Had we not read 
the law and witnessed its operations for a full quarter of a 
century it would indeed be difficult for us to credit the 
statement. And yet this is exactly what the Government 
has been doing all these years and is doing to-day. 

The first act authorizing our present system of ^National 
banks was parsed February 25, 1863 — just one year after 
the act was passed authorizing the issue of Legal tender 


notes. But no banks went into operation under this act. 
State bank managers were at first hostile to the scheme, and 
besides they were then engaged in their gold speculations 
and in the work of depreciating Government notes which 
would prepare them to go into the National banking busi- 
ness full handed later on. 

Finally on June 3, 1864, an act was passed (13 Statutes 
page 99) repealing the act of 1863, and authorizing the 
State banks to be converted into National banks and mak- 
ing various other changes satisfactory to the moneyed 

Thus far no National bank notes had been issued. By 
the report of Hugh McCulloch, Comptroller of the Cur- 
rency, of December 25, 1864, we are informed that at that 
date banks had been organized with an aggregate circula- 
tion of only $65,864,650, "a considerable portion of which 
had not been put into circulation." 

We mention this in order to correct an error common 
among the people which induces many to believe that the 
National banks came to the rescue of the Government in 
time of public peril. It would seem from the statement of 
the Comptroller that their arrival on the field of danger 
was a little tardy. Not a dollar of their notes was ever 
paid out to the army, nor did they fairly begin to issue 
them until the war was practically at an end. It is clear 
that the banks were not in the rescuing business during 
the war, as has been abundantly shown in our chapter on 
" Finance in War and Peace." 

The circulation of the National banks reached its maxi- 
mum in 1875, when it was $354,408,008. Since this date, 
taking the whole period together, there has been a steady 
decline in the sum total of their circulating notes until to- 
day, as we are informed by an official statement received 
from the present Comptroller, dated July 2, 1891, it has 


fallen, after deducting lawful money on deposit to retire 
circulation, to $126,974,021. This dceline of $227,433,987, 
during the past sixteen years, in the volume of circulating 
medium has taken place notwithstanding the constant 
increase in the total number of National banks, and in 
spite of the constant expansion of population and trade in 
every part of the country. If these had been Government 
Legal tenders instead of .National bank notes they would 
have remained in circulation all this period to bless the 
country. The banks have largely increased in number, 
while their circulating notes have greatly diminished. It 
will doubtless be urged that the decline in circulation has 
resulted from the payment by the Government of the 
bonds upon which it was based. Grant this to be true. It 
exhibits in the strongest possible light the folly of the 
system. It is a confession that the house was built upon 
the sand when the proprietor and the workmen knew that 
the floods were coming. Sound financial policy demands 
that when a dollar is once put in circulation it should 
never be withdrawn. If destroyed it should be replaced 
by another. As population multiplies, an increase of 
money is as essential as an increase of food and raiment. 

But in truth the National bank notes were not retired 
because the bonds were called in for payment. In every 
instance it has been voluntary and governed solely by self 
interest. It was because more money could be made and 
more power secured by retiring the circulation than by 
keeping it afloat. The welfare of the people did not enter 
into the circulation. A vicious law had placed a premium 
on bonds which was greater than the enormous profits to 
be derived from the use of currency obtained at the cheap 
rate of only one per cent per annum. When that tempta- 
tion occurred the banks did not hesitate to retire their cur- 
rency and to strike down at a single blow every struggling 


industry in the land. This was a ghastly exposure of the 
deadly faults underlying the system, but they were not 
embarrassed on that account. When the forbidden fruit 
was presented they availed themselves of it regardless of 
consequences. Nothing could so completely establish the 
fact that the American people are within the hands and 
completely at the mercy of a lot of grinding speculators, as 
the enormous decrease in the volume of bank notes which 
the above figures exhibit. 

But the most astounding fact in connection with the 
National banking system was the provision of the law 
(Section 4, Act June 20, 1874,) which expressly permitted 
the banks to retire their circulating notes "in whole or in 
part," by depositing with the Treasury an equal amount of 
lawful money for their redemption. 

Another provision permits them to go into liquidation at 
will. The first provision has been amended so as to restrict 
the amount of notes retired to not more than $3,000,000 
per month in the aggregate, but the power of the banks, 
one or 'all, to go into liquidation and thus retire all their 
notes, still exists. These provisions authorizing the banks 
to contract the currencj 7 " at will, are solemnly conferred by 
act of Congress without any provision whatever for the issue 
of other money to take the place of notes so retired. A 
corresponding power is also conferred upon the banks to 
issue notes whenever they desire to do so without regard to 
limit. (Sec. 3, act January 14, 1875). They have a carte 
blanch to do as they please, and to increase or diminish the 
supply at will. If the Government had offered a reward 
for the most skillfully constructed scheme by which pro- 
ductive industry could be placed permanently and securely 
under tribute to speculators and idlers, the authors of the 
National banking system would have been entitled, without 
question, to a reward and to a diploma for their ingenuity. 



The Government of the United States is designed to be 
permanent. Each generation is expected to cherish and 
defend it with their lives and fortunes. Every patriotic 
citizen of the Great Kepubiic fondly hopes that the Cent- 
uries, as they slowly pass by in their majestic march, may 
shower only immortelles upon us, and that the security, 
prosperity and happiness of our people may forever avouch 
our right to exist among the nations of the earth. 

The most important security which the Nation can have 
in this respect is a permanent and adequate financial sys- 
tem. This should be constructed in harmony with our 
theory and form of Government, and should be as endur- 
ing as the flag which floats over us and as secure as the 
Constitution itself. Our financial structure should rest 
upon the stability, be backed by the authority, and run 
parallel with the life of the Nation. Money is to Society 
what munitions of war are to an army. An army poorly 
equipped and inadequately supplied is an object of pity 
and derision. But what shall we say of the social structure 
when built upon a feeble and vicious financial foundation 
— when it depends for its strength and efficiency upon the 
speculative interests of a lot of adventurers? Are we not 
justified in characterizing it as an abomination? It is built 
to explode. The deadly train is laid and only awaits some 
sudden concussion — some accidental spark — to ignite it and 
hurl everything into confusion and ruin. Let us suppose 
that there was some power which could deprive an army of 
one half of its guns just as they were going into battle, or 
could stealthily withdraw a large share of their ammuni- 
tion without the knowledge of the soldiers, just as they 
were to engage the enemy. Could wo reasonably look for 
anything but death and defeat under such circumstances? 


Such a foe would be infinitely more dangerous than an 
armed enemy, and such a state of affairs would be justly 
regarded as the chief peril of war. Is it not equally as 
fatal for the Government of the United States to place its 
people, with all their sacred interests, at the mercy of those 
who seek to coin mone3 r out of every vicissitude of life? 
Have they ever hesitated to take advantage of public mis- 
fortunes ? 

The system is not only fraught with the possibility of 
disaster, but its actual workings are positively ruinous to 
general business thrift and security. The homes which 
would have been saved, the fortunes which would have been 
made and the bankruptcies which would have been avoided 
during the past sixteen years, had the two hundred and 
twenty-seven million of National bank notes been kept in 
circulation instead of being retired, is beyond the power of 
the human mind to even conjecture. Those who have wit- 
nessed this outrage and have been conscious of its perpe- 
tration, but have failed to openly condemn and denounce 
it, areparticeps criminis before God and mankind to all the 
crime, wreckage and plunder which have resulted from the 


Soon after the charter of 1816 was granted to the Bank 
of the United States, foreign capital became largely in- 
terested in its stock. This quickly involved the foreign 
stockholders in American politics. President Jackson, in 
his message to Congress in 1832 and 1833, concerning the 
Bank, expressly urged the fact of this foreign intermed- 
dling as good reason for withholding the renewal of the 
charter. The present National banks are subject to the 
same criticisms and they have followed in the footsteps of 
the old bank. The comptroller of the currency in his re- 


port, December 6th, 1880, page 3, asserts that persons re- 
siding "in twenty-five countries in Europe, Asia and 
Africa," at that time held shares in our National banks. 
As time advances the tendency is for this character of in- 
fluence to increase. It opens up an avenue through which 
foreign influence and intrigue can exert their baleful pow- 
ers. No rightminded American citizen can be willing for 
non-resident alien investors to have a voice in determining 
our money supply. But this is unavoidable under the sys- 
tem which we are now discussing. 


The special advantages offered by this system also 
induces large numbers of non-residents to become stock- 
holders and directors of banks located at points remote 
from their domiciles. The share-holders, and their custom- 
ers are strangers to each other and have no common bond 
of sympathy. Concerning non-resident influence, the 
Comptroller, in his report for 1889, pages 12 and 13, says: 

"The extent to which this is true is not fully understood. 
For example, if the group of States known as division No. 
6 is taken, composed of Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Kansas 
and Nebraska, it will be found that the capital of the 520 
associations in operation there on June 30, 1889, is repre- 
sented by 647,501 shares, of which 212,305 are held by non- 
residents, mostly located in the extreme east. 

"In division No. 8, comprising the States and Territories 
known as North Dakota, South Dakota, Idaho, Montana, 
New Mexico, Utah, Washington, Wyoming and Arizona, 
it will be found that more than one-third of the total num- 
ber of shares of National banks are held by non-residents; 
residents, 82,196 shares; non-residents, 47,654 shares." 

One-third of the shares of the Minnesota banks are held 
by non-residents. Two-thirds of the shares held in Kansas 
banks, half of the shares of the Dakota banks, nearly half 
of the shares in the Washington banks and more than half 



in the Wyoming banks, are held by the same class of 


The National banking system has been in operation 
twenty-eight years with an average circulation per year for 
the whole period of about $250,000,000. This would re- 
quire on the average, $275,000,000 bonds upon which to 
base circulation. If we average the interest on the bonds 
during the whole period at five per cent, which is fair, it 
would amount to $12,500,000 per annum, and for twenty- 
seven years it reaches the enormous sum of $337,500,000. 
This interest was all paid in gold. From 1864 to 1879 — 
fifteen years, gold bore an average premium of twenty-nine 
per cent as shown by the Treasury tables. The premium 
on this gold interest for one year would be $3,525,000, 
and for the fifteen years during which the average premium 
existed, it would be $52,875,000. Add this to the $337,- 
500,000 and we have $390,375,000 realized in interest and 
premium on interest paid in gold. 


The bonds were purchased with greenbacks at their face 
value which cost in gold on the average, not to exceed 
fifty cents on the dollar, giving another net profit of $137,- 
500,000. Add this to the $390,375,000 and we have $527,- 
875,000 in return for an original outlay of only $137,500,000 
in gold. 


The National banking law authorizes the banks to loan 
their notes at the lawful rate of interest in the State or Ter- 
ritory where the bank is located, and to take the interest in 
advance. The rate in the States varies between 6 and 10 
per cent. In most of the Territories there was no limit for 


many years. The average will reach 8 per cent. This rate 
upon $250,000,000 average circulation per annum will give 
$20,000,000, and for twenty-eight years a grand aggregate 
of $560,000,000. Add this sum to the §527,875,000 and 
we have a return of $1,087,875,000 on the original invest- 
ment of $137,500,000 in gold. 


From the very organization of the system deposits in Na- 
tional banks have always been large. Let us average the 
sum at only $800,000,000 per annum for the period of 
twenty-eight years, and we will reckon the rate on loans at 
8 per cent, simple interest. This would give us $1,792,- 
000,000 which, when added to the $1,067,875,000, gives us 
the vast sum of $2,859,875,000 — a profit equal to the entire 
National debt at the close of the war, in return for an origi- 
nal investment as before stated, of only $137,500,000 in 
gold. It should be kept in mind that we have in the above 
calculation of profits simply followed the average of $275,- 
000,000 of bonds deposited to secure circulation, the circu- 
lating notes obtained thereon and the profitable privileges 
and advantages resulting therefrom. We have taken no 
account of the profits on the large amount of capital stock 
not represented by the bonds deposited to secure circulation. 


The banks have had, during the whole period of their ex- 
istence, a large amount of public money on deposit in 
addition to individual deposits, which they have used and 
to some extent, are still permitted to use as current funds. It 
is much below correct figures to say that the public funds 
constantly in use by them will average at the lowest calcu- 
lation, $1"). i)00, 000 per annum, for twenty-eight years. 
Here is a handsome little income of $1,200,000 calculated 


at eight per cent. Then the premium on bonds other than 
those held to secure circulation, which resulted from a cun- 
ning provision of the law which deprived the Government 
of the power to pay its debts whenever it might have 
available funds. This has amounted to hundreds of mil- 
lions more. 

In the Forty-ninth Congress the writer had the honor of 
calling public attention to the abuse of depositing public 
money in National banks. At that time there were $52,000,- 
000 of public money in the various banks throughout the 
States. The names of the banks were given and the 
amount held by each, and the whole expose was printed 
in the Congressional Record at the time. In December, 
1878, in response to a resolution of inquiry adopted by the 
House of Representatives, the Secretary of the Treasury 
was forced to disclose the fact that he had, during the six 
months immediately preceding the month of December, of 
that year, kept on deposit in the First National Bank of 
New York, an average of $30,000,000 per month of the 
public funds, and that during one month he had on deposit 
there 845,000,000 of funds belonging to the Treasury, for 
the use of which the bank did not pay to the Treasury one 
single penny. The capital stock of this bank was only 
$500,000. Thig was done in the face of the fact that a sub- 
Treasury of the United States, where this money could be 
safely kept, was located within a stone's throw of the bank. 
The value of the Government deposits to that bank during 
the period mentioned, estimating the interest realized at six 
per cent, was $765,000, a sum larger than its whole 
capital stock ! 

Besides all this, the one item of buying and selling bills 
of exchange and discounting negotiable paper is o: itsell 
a very great source of profit. Again, as a rule, the inter- 
est on all loans is collected at the time the loan is made. 


This compounds the interest on the myriads of transac- 
tions running through the whole twenty-eight years. The 
gains from this source alone are enormous. 

It is absolutely certain that the accumulations realized 
under this subdivision of "Incidental Profit," will more 
than double the entire current expenses of carrying on the 
system, including all taxes paid and losses sustained. 
Nothing can be clearer than that the $2,859,875,000 above 
stated falls short of a true estimate of the net profits of the 
system during the period it has been in operation. 

But the question as to whether these Associations have 
or have not amassed fortunes by the exercise of their pre- 
rogatives is insignificant when compared with other con- 
siderations which belong to the controversj". 

Another glaring vice inherent in the system is the fact 
that the power of the Government to issue National bank 
notes cannot be exercised until it is evoked by private spec- 
ulators and associated usurers. The Government is merely 
their instrument and obedient servant, having no will of 
its own. The power lies dormant until such time as these 
highly favored members of the community may find pleas- 
ure in arousing it to activity. They determine when the 
power shall be exercised and when it shall cease. It is as 
though it were a piece of machinery. The speculator 
throws his belt over the wheel and it runs. When it is 
removed it ceases to revolve. And again when they have 
accomplished their speculation the same parties who call 
for the money may destroy it and thus place it beyond the 
reach of others who desire its use. 


The demand among the people, followed by the struggle 
in Congress, for the remonetization of silver was based 
upon the universal conviction that the country was suffer- 
ing for want of money. Congress responded by author- 


izing the coinage into standard silver dollars of not less 
than two nor more than four million dollars' worth of 
bullion per month. It was expected that this gradual 
addition to our circulating medium would stimulate trade 
and impart a healthy impulse to business. Confidence was 
entertained that those intrusted with the execution of the 
law would act in good faith and readily comply with the 
law. But as soon as the law was enacted the New York 
Clearing House Association, composed of the associated 
banks of that city, refused to receive standard silver coins 
on deposit as current funds. They would receive them 
only to be paid back in kind. The Secretary was a party 
to this conspiracy and the Treasury of the United States 
became a member of the New York Clearing House Asso- 
ciation, and joined in nullifying the law . 

The Secretary reluctantly obeyed the law and coined the 
minimum instead of the maximum amount. Meantime for 
every three millions of silver dollars coined, the banks 
retired above two millions of their circulating notes. Out- 
rageous jugglery of this kind has been in constant opera- 
tion year after year and is still in full force. This joint 
action on the part of the banks and Treasury officials, 
together with the policy of locking up vast sums in the 
vaults at Washington, have sufficed to diminish our cur- 
rency in the face of an expanding business and increasing 

When this system was established it was heralded as one 
which would give to the expanding energies of our vigorous 
civilization an ample and increasing volume of currency. 
Its actual operation has been just the reverse. The exper- 
iment has been expensive and embarrassing to all who are 
not connected with the system. But it is gratifying to know 
that its power is waning and that a new formulation, based 
upon more humane principals, and born of clearer concep- 
tions of popular rights, is ready to take its place. 



The transportation issue is one of the important conten- 
tions of our age. It is a business question of the highest 
importance, but its relation to Government is vital and over 
shadowing. We can of course only treat the subject sug- 
gestively in this brief chapter, but we hope to stimulate 
and guide the reader to further investigations. 

The activities of modern life and the necessity for daily 
communication between widely separated communities ren- 
der the consideration of this subject of supreme importance 
to the American people at this juncture in our history. 

The controlling victory in the great battle between the 
people and the corporate barons of the period was won 
when the Courts, both State and National, decided that our 
lines of railway transportation were public highways. This 
mountain pass having been captured, it only remains for the 
people to move over into the open country beyond. 

No Government can safely surrender control over its 
highways, and if it has attempted to do so the concession 
is void, being in conflict with sound public policy and the 
safety of the people. In such instances the people are free 
to disregard the surrender and to resume control of their 
highways whenever they may desire to do so, and upon 
such terms as they in justice may deem proper and right. 

In civilized life public highways are indispensable. There 
can be neither safety, convenience nor public order with- 


out them. And inasmuch as the duty to construct and 
maintain these highways devolves upon all members of the 
community alike, it follows that it is incumbent upon that 
power which represents the whole people to discharge this 
dut}'. When applied to ordinary highways this has always 
been conceded. But highways for rapid transit between 
widely separated communities and between cities and 
states are essentially the same, and the duty to construct, 
operate and control them rests just where it does in the 
case of ordinary public roads. It has been substantially 
so held by the courts over and over again . It is not pos- 
sible to draw any line of distinction between them. It is 
but just beginning to dawn upon us that our great high- 
ways have been wrenched from our control — that they 
have been farmed out to private adventurers and specula- 
tors who use them to extort unconscionable tolls from the 
people as they pass to and fro. 

The just power of the Nation is made up of the authority 
transferred to it by the people. It can rightfully possess 
none other. This power can not be surrendered or properly 
delegated to any private person whomsoever. It is inca- 
pable of annihilation, and should the Government be dis- 
solved it would return to those from whom it was derived. 

The power which the people originally possessed to reg- 
ulate commerce among the States for themselves was by 
the adoption of the Constitution, solemnly transferred to 
Congress and at once became a matter of National and 
universal concern. The Congress can not escape the 
responsibility if it would. It is a great problem underly- 
ing the prosperity and happiness of the people. How can 
it be solved ? In the opinion of the writer, private greed 
and the public welfare can not be reconciled. As long as 
men are permitted to invest their private fortunes in public 
highways they will spurn public control. Instead of study- 


ing how to obey the law, they will tax their ingenuity to 
find ways to violate both its letter and its spirit. The con- 
trolling thought of an investor in railways is dividends. 
The public welfare calls for the highest efficiency at the 
minimum cost. The conflict between these two principles 
or interests is malignant and erreconcilable, and it is rank 
folly to longer attempt to disguise the real situation. Let 
us glance at a few facts which exhibit the serious character 
of this struggle between individual greed and the public 
welfare. It is well known that in the autumn of 1890, a 
half dozen railroad magnates, headed by Gould, formed a 
conspiracj' to wreck certain railways with the view of secur- 
ing ultimate control over them. To do so it became nec- 
essary to corner the available money in the principle banks 
of New York. 

This threw "the street" into a panic and soon the per- 
turbation extended throughout the metropolis and the 
country was within arm's-length of a general panic. Stocks 
of course declined and the object of the ring was accom- 
plished. Nothing but the timely extension of aid by the 
Treasury department averted general disaster. What was 
this but a declaration of war on the part of these conspir- 
ators against the great body of the people ? It was like 
the descent of a band of Italian brigands from the moun- 
tains for plunder. If a half-dozen piratical crafts had 
sailed into New York harbor on that beautiful autumn day, 
they could not have wrought much more havoc than was 
inflicted upon the business interests of the country by 
these half-dozen railroad speculators and Wall Street 
gamblers. And yet these are the men who are constantly 
prating about the security of property and the inviolability 
of vested rights ! Transactions similar in character but of 
less magnitude are continually occurring. The business 
situation is liable to be convulsed by them at any moment. 



Investments in railway securities, except in a few control 
ling lines, have come, on this account, to be the most 
hazardous of all business adventures. It is a matter of 
common occurence for whole lines to be practically confis- 
cated and swallowed up by private manipulators, and those 
who have invested their money are financially stranded for 
life. In their delirium of greed the managers of our 
transportation systems disregard both private right and the 
public welfare. To-day they will combine and bankrupt 
their weak rivals, and by the expenditure of a trifling sum 
possess themselves of properties which cost the outlay of 
millions. To-morrow they will capitalize their booty for 
five times the cost, issue their bonds and proceed to levy 
tariffs upon the people to pay dividends upon the fraud. 
Take for example the Kansas Midland. It cost $10,200 
per mile, It is capitalized at §53,021 per mile. How are 
the plain plodding people to defend themselves against 
such flagrant injustice? 

Mr. Sidney Dillon, President of the Union Pacific, in 
the North American Review, for April, 1891, says that "a 
citizen, simply as a citizen, commits an impertinence when 
he questions the right of a corporation to capitalize its 
properties at any sum whatever." 

This gentleman is many times a millionaire, and the 
road over which he presides was built wholly by public 
funds and by appropriations of the public domain. The 
road never cost Mr. Dillon nor his associates a single 
penny. It is now capitalized at $106,000 per mile ! This 
Company owes the Government 850.000,000, with accru- 
ing interest which is destined to accumulate for many 
years. The public lien exceeds the entire cost of the 
road, and yet this Government, which Mr. Dillon defies, 
meekly holds a second mortgage to secure its claim. Bills 
have been pending in Congress for six or eight years to 


reduce the interest on the Government lien to a nominal 
sum and to extend and renew the loan for three-quarters of 
a century. It is publicly reported that Gould and Dillon 
now propose to put a mortgage lien of $250,000,000 upon 
this property and to place the people under tribute to pay 
it. It is pretty clear that it would not be safe for the pub- 
lic to take the advice of either Mr. Dillon or Mr. Gould as 
to the best method of dealing with the transportation 
problem. It is safer to follow the ancient example of one 
of the Governors of Judea, who, in dealing with another 
class of extortionists, concluded to " consult with himself." 

In 1885, the Superintendent of the St. Louis & Iron 
Mountain road, filed a sworn statement before the Arkan- 
sas State Board of Assessments, that the road could be 
duplicated for $11,000 per mile. It is capitalized at four 
times that sum. 

The proper method of ascertaining the actual cost of a 
given road is to first ascertain the amount of its actual paid 
up capital stock, bonds and floating debt at the time of 
completion and equipment. Then add these three items 
together, and, if they are truthfully rendered, you have the 
true cost of construction and equipment. Upon the aggre- 
gate of these three items, honestly stated, the people are 
willing to pay a reasonable profit. They should not be 
expected to do more. The fact that vastly more than this 
has been almost universally exacted for more than a score 
of years, by the great majority of roads, is one of the 
underlying causes of the industrial and political upheaval 
now in progress. Let us apply this test to a few represent- 
ative roads. We will take two in the West and one system 
in the East, to-wit: The Illinois Central, the Chicago and 
Northwestern, and the New York Central and Hudson 
River railroad. 



The management of this road has been an extraordinary 
success. A number of "distributions of stock," pro rata, 
have been made among stockholders. The land grant of this 
company amounted to 2,595,000 acres. On the first of Jan- 
uary, 1873, the land sales and advance interest had yielded 
the company 824,824,333.33, or an average of 835,211 per 
mile on their entire road of 705 miles operated at that time. 
In 1858 dividends were paid to the stockholders in script, 
which was soon thereafter converted into stock, to the 
amount of §1,772,270. Again in 1865 there was another 
distribution of stock to the amount of $2,119,931. In the 
summer of 1868 there was still another amounting to 
§1,881,100. These "distributions of stock" were "water" 
and amounted in the aggregate to 65,773,301, which, when 
added to the sales of land to that date, amounted to $30,- 
597,634,33, or, in other words, to $43,400.89 per mile. 

The total cost of construction of the entire line of seven 
hundred and five miles as reported by the Company, Janu- 
ary 1, 1873, amounted to $34,061,196.56, or an average of 
$48,331.75 per mile. This leaves but $4,930.86 as the 
actual sum which the stockholders of this road bad ex- 
pended per mile over and above receipts! It must be 
remembered that this estimate does not include the value 
of the unsold lands which the company had on hand 
January 1, 1873, which amount to 344,368 acres estimated 
at that time to be worth $5,165,520. This will make the 
aggregate of watered stock and land subsidy exceed the 
whole cost of construction, as reported by the Company 
itself, by the sum of $1,801,957,77. It is thus seen, by 
the admission of the accounting officers of the Company, 
that the United States Government and the State of Illinois 
save to the stockholders of the Illinois Central railroad 


the magnificent line of road seven hundred and five miles 
in length, and a bonus of nearly two millions of dollars ! 
This was the status which this road occupied before the 
public eighteen years ago, when it was comparatively in 
its infancy. Every year from that time until the present, 
the people of Illinois and the whole northwest have been 
paying extortionate rates for transportation over this line 
to enable the Company to pay dividends upon this uncon- 
scionable investment . 


The Chicago and Northwestern Railroad Company was the 
recipient of immense land grants from the General Govern- 
ment. No limitations or restrictions were imposed by Con- 
gress upon the disposition of these lands. The grants to 
this road were as follows: 

To the Iowa Division 1,422,109 acres. 

To the Winona and St. Peters Company. . . .1,400,000 " 
To the Peninsula Railroad 346,880 ' ' 

Total , 3,168,989 " 

These lands were all diverted from the ownership and 
control of the Company. The Companies named in the 
act of Congress granting the lands leased their roads to the 
Northwestern in perpetuity, making no mention of the land 
grants and at an annual rental in excess of reasonable in- 
terest upon the money actually invested. The whole trans- 
action smacks strongly of private manipulation, collusion 
and peculation on the part of all parties concerned in the 

There have been a number of stock waterings connected 
with this road also. At the time of the consolidation with 
the Galena and Chicago road the stockholders of the latter 
road were allowed 86,030,500 in shares to "equalize" values. 
In 1868, a script dividend amounting to $1,810,110 was 


divided among the stockholders, making a grand product 
of "water" up to that date of $8,840,810. On July 1, 1873, 
according to the Company's report to the Illinois Commis- 
sioners, the total stock and bonds of the Company amounted 
to $61,597,573.82. In 1872, the Company issued a con- 
solidated mortgage upon its whole line and properties to 
secure bonds to the amount of $48,000,000. $35,349,000 
were used to take up bonds then outstanding against the 
Company, but no one can tell what became of the remain- 
ing $12,651,000. This one transaction increased the liabil- 
ities of the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad Company 
to the enormous sum of $84,477,073.82 andyetno mention 
was made of this stupendous transaction in the report to the 
Railroad and Warehouse Commissioners. The action of 
the Company since the year 1872, has been in line with the 
transactions here recorded. Within a few years past this 
whole indebtedness was funded into new bonds which lap 
far over upon the twentieth Century. 

We have spoken of the action of the Company in 
1873, and near that time, in order to give the reader a clear 
conception of the enormous tax that has been imposed upon 
the industries and people of this country by this one Com- 
pany during the past twenty years, and to give him an idea 
of what may be looked for during the years to come if the 
relation which now exists between the Government and 
those who operate its public highways is not speedily 


In the report of the Committee on Railroad Transporta- 
tion made by experts selected by the American Cheap 
Transportation Association, the following facts were 
brought out concerning the management of the New York 
Central and Hudson River Railroad. In 1853 ten separate 


corporations owning the route between the Hudson River 
and the lakes were consolidated. The committee makes 
the following statement: 

"The combined amount of share capital and convertible 
bonds of these separate organizations was then $23,235,000, 
but a considerable portion of the share capital had not 
been paid in. The equalizing process of the consolidation 
was that the Schenectady and Troy Company — that being 
the least productive of all — should come in at par, while 
the holders of stock or convertible bonds of other roads 
received a premium in Consolidated 6 per cent debt certifi- 
cates ranging from 17 to 55 per cent, making an issue oi 
these certificates, amounting to §8,894,500, or over 30 per 
cent on the true share capital of the company. From this 
time down to 1867 there had been no material change in 
the total stock and debt of the New York Central Company 
other than what could be nearly accounted for by actual 
value received, and its capital account was then repre- 
sented by $28,537,000 of stock and $12,069,820 of bonds, a 
total (including the 'water, 1 of 1853) of §40,606,820. The 
Hudson River Railroad Company, at the same time, had 
a share capital of $7,000,000 and a bonded debt of $7,227,- 
000; total, §14.227,000; making these two companies 
which in 1860 were consolidated, stand in 1867, as follows: 
Stock, $35,537,000, and bonds, $19,296,820, or a total cap- 
ital account of §54,833,820. 

"During 1S67 the Hudson River Conapauy presented 
its stockholders with $3,500,000 stock, or a dividend of fifty 
per cent; and again, at the time of consolidation, another 
one of eight3'-five per cent on the then outstanding stock of 
816,000,000, making an issue of $13,625,000. The New 
York Central Company had, in 1868, presented its stock- 
holders with $23,036,000 or eighty per cent, followed by one 
of twenty-seven per cent, $7,775,000, at the time of consol- 
idation. Thus in the space of two years the New York 
Central & Hudson River Railroad Company added to its 
capital the sum of $47,836,000 created out of nothing but 
the will of its directors and the mixture of paper and 
printers' ink." 



The Committee also state that — 

"The entire railroad system of the United States is 
tainted with the same practice, and it is estimated that 
about one-half of the stock of the entire body of railways 
in this country has been thus manufactured. * * * 
The Palace and Sleeping-Car and Express Companies are 
also excrescences upon the railroad system of the country; 
and from the fact that they now own from ten to twenty 
million dollars worth of cars, bought mostly from profits, 
they should be bought out by the railroad companies, so 
that the profits would go to swell their general revenues." 

Similar wrongs, scarcely less glaring and outrageous, 
were also mentioned in the report but the limits of this 
chapter preclude their mention. 

Other flagrant abuses, such as discriminating between 
cities, communities and individuals, transporting freight for 
one for less than is right and visiting over-charges upon less 
favored localities, thus compelling the latter to make up 
for losses incurred, through favoritism to the former, are also 
of daily occurrence. Indeed, it would require a score of 
volumes to contain even an outline of the abuses which have 
been inflicted upon the people of the United States during 
the past quarter of a century by those who control our inter- 
state highways. As we have shown in other portions of 
this work, the Dressed Beef Trust, the Anthracite Pool, 
the Soft Coal Combine, and almost every other variety and 
style of combination now despoiling the people, derive 
their vitality from unlawful association with transportation 


The Government must resume control of these highways 
and operate them in the interest of the people at large. 
This it can do by building lines of its own or by taking 
those now in operation, paying a reasonable compensation 


therefor. It is idle to talk of any other remedy. We have 
experimented through the lifetime of a whole generation 
and have demonstrated that avarice is an untrustworthy 
public servant, and that greed cannot be regulated or made 
to work in harmony with the public welfare. Like the 
carnal mind, it is enmity against the Laws of God and man 
and is not subject to the will of either, neither indeed 
can be. 

After carefully considering the objections to this policy 
we are convinced that they are wholly untenable and un- 
sound. Those most seriously urged relate to the expense 
involved in the purchase of the various plants and to the 
dangerous political consequences apprehended from the ex- 
ercise of power so vast. 

In answer to the first objection, it is sufficient to state 
that the burdens of the whole railway system as at present 
operated — value, debt, "water" and abuses now rest upon 
the people. The whole structure would be worthless but 
for their daily contributions. The burden could not be 
greater if every line in America belonged to the Govern- 
ment to-day, and we were in debt for every cent of their 
value, fictitious and real, even if the tariffs and abuses 
were to remain just as they are at present. 

But every considerate mind knows that most, if not all, 
of the abuses which now vex and impoverish industry and 
the public in general, would disappear if the vice of avarice 
were excluded from the control of this great limb of our 

In every instance where the Federal Courts have taken 
charge of these lines of traffic and placed them under the 
supervision of Receivers who are responsible for their con- 
duct, the public service has been greatly improved. In 
this manner the whole question has been lifted in our own 
country from the domain of experiment and demonstrated 


in scores of instances to be the most practicable thing in 
the world. 

But the second objection is even weaker than the first. 
The railroads are now in politics and corruptly so. Gov- 
ernment ownership will eliminate their corrupting influence 
and take away the motive for its exercise. The selection 
of employes, from the highest to the lowest, can, and 
should be placed under the supervision of a strictly non- 
partisan board, which will render political appointments 
impossible and free the service from all party considera- 
tions whatsoever. In this manner the whole industry can be 
exalted to a plane of fraternity and efficiency. We shall 
not attempt to discuss or to set forth in this book the great 
variety of details which will have to be considered when 
the practical legislator shall come to frame the law. 

Various countries in the old world have tried the experi- 
ment of Government ownership and have found its opera- 
tions in every respect satisfactory. 

Austro-Hungary has afforded the world a notable ex- 
ample of the benefits resulting from the plan proposed. 
They have but recently adopted the system of zone 
tariifs, and we have examined the account of its operation 
given in the report of the Interstate Commerce Commis- 
sion of the United States for 1890. The general object of 
the Government in introducing the system was the encour- 
agement of long distance travel between the Capital and 
the provinces, and a modification to the greatest practical 
extent of the element of distance in passenger traffic, in 
favor of all ranks and classes of the population; the theory 
being, that the increased volume of travel would fully com- 
pensate for the lower individual charge ; the effect in uni- 
fying the interest of all sections and promoting the welfare 
of the Capita, city, being also an important incentive to the 
(change. Each railway is divided into sections called 


zones, radiating from a common center — Buda Pesth. The 
first zone is shortest, extending a distanee of 15.5 miles; 
the second and each succeeding zone up to the twelfth is 
9.6 miles longer than the zone immediately preceding it, 
all distances exceeding one hundred and forty miles from 
the starting point are included in a single zone. Passenger 
rates are fixed, not per mile or per kilometer, but at so 
much per zone; the charge for every fraction of a zone 
being the same as for a full zone. As each zone constantly 
increases in length over that immediately preceding it, the 
system is evidently a constantly diminishing rate per mile 
in proportion to distance traveled. The report gives ex- 
tended tables of rates much like rate sheets which are now 
by law compelled to be posted in our stations. We have 
space but for a few instances from these tables which will 
afford striking illustrations of the superiority of the Hun- 
garian system over our monopolistic one. 

Six classes of rates are given in the table of which we 
give but two, the highest and lowest: From station (A) to 
points within the zone, 16 to 25 miles, highest rate .40 low- 
est .20; to points within the fifth zone 53 to 62 miles, high- 
est rate $1.44, lowest .60; zone tenth, 100 to 108 miles, 
highest $2.64, lowest SI. 10; zone thirteenth, 140 miles and 
beyond, highest, $3.48, lowest §1.60: But the most marked 
features of this system are shown in distances above 140 
miles . From Buda Pesth to Kolozsvar, 247 miles, highest, 
$3.84, lowest $1.60; from.Buda Pesth to Brasso, 452 miles 
highest S3. 84 lowest, $1.60. 

These rates are marked reduction from the former ones 
and have resulted (as the lowering of rates in Iowa) in 
largely increased receipts. The number of passengers car- 
ried in 1888 was 5,587,700, in 1889 (during which year the 
zone tariff was adopted) 9,097,700, an increase of 3,509,- 
500. The total receipts from passengers and baggage in 


1888 were $3,674,280, in 1889, 14, 126, 8*), increase $432, 
560. In Austria the system is much the same as that oi 
Hungary but has only been in operation since June 16, 
1890, but already as appears from a communication from 
the Austrian minister of Commerce, ''the results of the new 
system are satisfactory both as concerns the increase in the 
number of passengers and receipts. On some lines the in- 
crease in the number of passengers was as much as 176 per 
cent. The increase in the receipts of passengers and bag- 
gage was calculated for July at 24,000 florins, and for 
August at 45,000 florins. 

Prof. Ely, the well known professor of Johns Hopkins 
University, spent the summer in Germany, and at a recent 
meeting of the Johns Hopkins Historical Society, read a 
paper on the "Railways and Social Democracy in Ger- 
many," in which he pays the following tribute to govern- 
ment railways as operated in that empire: 

"I was very much impressed during my stay in Germany 
this summer by the superior service of the state controlled 
railways of that country as compared with the careless 
management of oar own lines. There was scarcely an 
accident in Prussia during the whole summer, while in this 
country nearly five times as many passengers are injured 
or killed outright. The American railways have not enough 
employes to secure safety and attention. England has four 
times as many men and Germany even more. 

" We are fully thirty years behind Germany in safety for 
passengers . There are no unguarded crossings allowed to 
menace the public. Even at the stations there is no cross- 
ing the tracks to reach out going trains, as is the case in 
our own union stations. To get on the other side in Ger- 
many you must descend a flight of steps and pass through 
a tunnel under the track. The stations themselves are 
models of beautiful architecture . The new one in Frank- 
fort cost 84,000,000. When the government intends to 
erect a new station it offers a prize to architects for orna- 
mental designs. There is a maximum of comfort received 


in railway travel, as the stations are all union stations, 
which is possible since the government controls all the 

"Since my visit ten years ago, many improvements in 
speed have been made, fifty miles an hour being the 
scheduled time for many trains. The express from Berlin 
to Hamburg made fifty miles an hour, all stops included. 
Government ownership also opens the way for the use of 
the railwa} 7 for a social purpose. The general opinion is 
that the population is too much centralized in the large 
cities, and by the cheap zone or belt railroad system, soon 
to be opened in Berlin, workmen may live in the suburbs 
and work in the city without much expense. 

"The Government management of the railway finances 
has also been a brilliant success, surpassing all expectations. 
In Prussia alone, last year, after paying the interest and 
part of the principal on the bonded debt, there was a sur- 
plus of 825,000,000. The reduction in fares and freights 
annually amounted to an annual distribution of over $25, 
000,000. I must also say a word for the high quality of 
the freight service, which is fully equal to the express traf- 
fic in many parts of our country. A trunk can be sent all 
over Germany with perfect safety and convenience for a 
mere trifle, while a few cents extra will insure it and a few 
cents more guarantee its delivery at a certain hour." 

We urge upon the American people the immediate con- 
sideration of this great subject. Already some of the 
brightest minds connected with the railway service are 
beginning to look to the Government as the only refuge 
from the difficulties inherent in the present system of pri- 
vate control. Prominent among these are Mr. Stickney, 
the General Manager of the Chicago, St. Paul & Kansas 
City Kailway, President Blockstone, and many others. 



The economic consequences of our civil war, have been 
far-reaching and mighty. Indeed, with the lapse of time 
and the renaissance of monetary investigation we are all 
beginning to understand something of the tremendous and 
ever unfolding issues which were hidden from the con- 
tending forces in that gigantic struggle. 

Considered from a financial point of view the effect of 
the war was two-fold — centrifugal and centripetal. The 
first threw the circulating medium to the extremities of the 
country, thereby imparting life, health and activity to 
industry, while the latter caused it ever to return at the 
very moment it was needed to meet the extraordinary 
demands of the Treasury. But since the baleful policy of 
contraction, in 1866, the centrifugal or radial action has 
been distressingly feeble, while the centripetal energy has 
been operating under a full head of steam. To stop this 
deadly and eccentric action and to restore a healthy equi- 
librium to these forces, the Sub-Treasury Plan has been 
devised. In our judgment, it is the most valuable formu- 
lation which economic science has ever evolved. We will 
devote a few page3 to a suggestive examination of this now 
noted theme. 

Strictly and philosophically speaking, the Sub-Treasury 
system does not relate to the question of how much money 
is required for the constant use of the people. It simply 


calls for the adoption of a flexible system which will expand 
the currency when more is needed and shrink it when the 
demand has passed away. The foundation for this system 
will doubtless be laid by putting out, to start with, a suffi- 
cient volume to meet the every day demands of trade, but 
this alone would not prevent a stringency at certain 
seasons of the year. Starting with sufficient, however, the 
system proposed will be ample to prevent a scarcity of 
currency at critical junctures on the one hand, and on the 
other to forbid undue inflation when the normal and 
healthful demand for money has passed by. The student 
of economic science should always keep the two questions 
entirely separated in his mind. 

The following, which we take from a letter addressed to 
Hon. Wm. HcKinley, Chairman of the Ways and Means 
Committee of the House in the 51st Congress, by Mr. C. 
W. Macune, Chairman of the Legislative Committee of the 
Farmers Alliance and Industrial Union, clearly and suc- 
cinctly sets forth the abuse which the Sub-Treasury system 
is designed to destro}'. After making the very liberal 
statement that there was not, at that time, to exceed one 
billion dollars in actual circulation among the people, Mr. 
Macune said: 

''This sum must do all the business of the country. The 
manufacturer, the merchant, the miner, the banker, pro- 
fessional men, artisans, and laborers, all alike complete 
a productive effort in their various vocations every day. 
That is to say, each of these has an even and practically 
uniform use for money throughout the year. With this 
uniform volume and uniform demand, stability of prices 
might reasonably be expected if agriculture did not belong 
to the family, but it does and will as long as people eat 
bread and wear clothes, which, however, will not be very 
long unless present tendencies are stopped. Agriculture 
steps in during the last four months in the year with about 
five billion dollars' worth (at present prices) of products, 


which she offers for (and must have) money. "What a 
demand upon the one billion dollars in circulation! In 
addition to doing the business of the country, as it has been 
doing for eight months, it must now take care of a business 
equal to five times its volume. It will be surely admitted 
as fair to presume that the demand for money is doubled 
during that period, when it is known that the gross value 
of the gross output of all kinds of manufacturing for the 
entire year of 1880 was $5,369,479,191. When you con- 
sider the relations between the volume of money and the 
demand for its use you must admit that the same effect will 
be produced by an increase in demand, or by a decrease in 
volume. That is to say, a fixed volume of money with an 
increased demand is a contraction of volume just as certain 
as a fixed demand with a diminished volume is a contrac- 
tion. Therefore the augmented demand for money created 
by the marketing of agricultural products under existing 
laws is attended with a violent contraction of the relative 
volume of the circulating medium of the country, which 
compels irresistibly, a reduction in prices at the very time 
when the farmer must part with his product. Mr. Flower, 
of New York, has already submitted good evidence in 
proof of this, by showing that for forty years the actual 
average fluctuation annually in price of these products has 
been fifty per cent, and it is an admirable illustration and 
confirmation of the principles here laid down, that general 
prices invariably fall with this relative contraction of the 
volume of money every autumn. This enables those who 
have money to buy the products of the farm during that 
season for less money than it cost the farmer to produce 
them at the prices which prevailed in the spring, when he 
made the investment in the productive effort. It should 
not be forgotten in this connection that at all times the 
Government is taking in as 'Government receipts from 
taxes and revenues' about fifty millions per month. True, 
it pays out about the same, but that money is not buying 
wheat while it is going to and from Uncle Sam's pocket. 

"No man can deny that it is a systematic robbery of the 
farmer to have a financial system established by law that will 
contract so as depress prices at the season he is compelled 
to sell the products of his labor. Of course the demand 


for money is diminished as the crop is consumed, and by 
the time it is necessary for the farmer to make his spring 
and summer investments to secure a crop, the volume of 
money, having less to do, is relatively larger, and, as must 
follow, prices are higher. This is the truth in a nutshell; 
he buys his commodities under an environment that makes 
wheat worth a dollar a bushel, and is compelled to sell his 
produce under an environment that makes wheat worth fifty 
cents a bushel. Is it any wonder that the most enterpris- 
ing merchants have generally failed, or that the best farm- 
ers in the country have become involved in debt? Do not 
say that if this were true it would have been discovered 
long ago, and would not have been unearthed by a 
modern hay-seed convention, because it would not. It is 
the result of the material progress that has developed the 
railway and telegraph, by means of which the product of 
agriculture can be placed on the markets of the world the 
very day it is harvested, and before it leaves the farm. 
This has shortened the season for harvesting and market- 
ing so much that the effect of a stable volume of money is 
equal to a violent contraction. There has been a rock in 
one end of the meal bag long enough, and it is time 
modern conditions were recognized and utilized. 

••3, r o mere increase in the volume of money by the free 
coinage of silver, or the issue of treasury notes, or the loan- 
ing of money on real estate, is now sufficient, because the 
farmer is not in shape to get his share of the benefits that 
would undoubtedly flow from such measure. He is behind 
the procession. The laws, as above shown, discriminate 
against him. He wants the discrimination stopped. He 
wants an equal chance to share the benefits. Then increase 
the stable volume and enact other wise laws, and he, being 
able to get his share of the benefits, will give the due 
credit. This principle of flexibility of volume to meet the 
flexibility of demand is so plain and simple, so manifestly 
just and right, that students of political ecomony of the 
future will rank those who now drum up matters of detail 
as an excuse for not receiving it, with those who ridiculed 
Columbus when he demonstrated that the world was round.'' 


This is an admirable specimen of clear, philosophic and 
unimpassioned reasoning. When we consider that it is 
the acknowledged duty of the Government to furnish the 
circulating medium and to designate the channel through 
which it shall pass out to the people, it would seem morally 
impossible for our law makers to refuse to remedy abuses 
which experience has shown to be inherent in the existing 
system. If they were conscious of their responsibility to 
the people and really desired the public welfare they would 
make haste to do so. They are quick to appropriate money 
to remove trivial obstructions in our navigable streams and 
harbors, but when it comes to removing obstacles which 
annually throw the whole commerce of the country into 
confusion, the}' shrink back aghast and palliate their crim- 
inal neglect of dut}- by denouncing all who clamor for 

The monej* thrown into the channels of trade by this 
process will not operate to inflate, but simply to supply a 
normal and legitimate demand which does not exist at 
other seasons of the year. When the extraordinary de- 
mand ceases, the extra circulation must of necessity be 
returned to the Treasury, there to remain in the hands of a 
public servant until called out by a like contingency. It 
can neither be cornered nor used to oppress anybody. 
There it will remain the pride of the people and their 
absolute guaranty that they shall have the protection of 
Government in their righteous endeavor to husband the 
fruits of their toil. This will dignify every department of ' 
labor and make it attractive and remunerative. More still, 
it will put a premium on industry and honor the law of God 
which requires that every man shall eat his bread in the 
sweat of his own face. 

The plan is free from the objection that it is class legis- 
lation, as the money cannot be borrowed for purposes of 


speculation, but simply for temporary and current use. 
Being expended instead of hoarded for speculative and 
usurious purposes it will pass at once into the channels of 
trade giving employment to labor and furnishing a market 
for its products. The laboring man who does not borrow 
from the sub-treasury will reap his full share of the benefits 
through the increased demands for his labor and still will 
be exempt from its burdens. The man who borrows must 
return the money with the slight expense attached, while 
the laborer will be secure in his increased wages and find 
constant employment unvexed by Treasury liens, interest 
or debt. 


of the system cannot be questioned. It is but a humane 
modification of the National Banking system now in oper- 
ation. Indeed, when the measure finally comes to be 
drafted in all of its details, the outlines of the present 
National Banking law, with the abuses left out, will be 
taken as the model for the new measure. If the Govern- 
ment has the constitutional authority to allow the owners 
of United States bonds to deposit them with the Treasury 
and receive in return ninety per cent of their face value, in 
National currency, at a tax of only one per cent per annum, 
it unquestionably has the authority to let those who are 
engaged in industrial pursuits have it at the same rate and 
upon just such security as may be deemed ample and safe. 
The constitutionality of Government legal tender issues is 
forever settled. That marvelous Statesman and law-giver of 
our time, General Benjamin F. Butler, has closed that con- 
troversy forever, and the highest court known to our civiliza- 
tion has placed the seal of approval upon his judgment. 
There is nothing left to cavil about. Now let the Govern- 
ment exercise its high prerogative. 



If the bond is good, the security offered by the sub- 
treasury advocates is good also. The value of the bond 
depends upon the wealth-producing and productive energy 
of the people. And so of every other thing which we call 
valuable in the world. 

Every form of speculative enterprise which has its lines 
thrown into the future, derives its vitality and hope for 
return upon the annual harvests of the world. This is all 
the security there is for anything. The value of the earth 
itself as a home for the children of men depends upon the 
returns which follow the recurrence of seed-time and harvest. 


The industrial organizations of the country have never 
called for an unlimited issue of money, nor can they be 
frightened by the sinister cry of inflation. All they ask is 
for a well-guarded system which shall furnish an ample 
and stable body of currency, with proper safe-guards as 
to the amount to be issued and sensible restrictions concern- 
ing the quantity to be obtained by any one person. The 
method of placing our money in circulation cannot, in any 
manner, affect its value. The guaranty of the Govern- 
ment makes the National bank note worth its face, although 
it is passed out to the banks at a tax which merely covers 
the cost of production. If issued to a private individual 
it would be in every respect as valuable. 

The necessary increase of the money volume required 
for present purposes and which should and doubtless will 
precede the inauguration of this system, can also be placed 
in circulation by private loans, at the same rates and upon 
the same security. It can also be placed in circulation in 
a variety of other ways. The economic problems now 



pressing for soli tion are likely to afford ample facilities 
for the expenditure of public money. There need be no 
vneasiness from that quarter. The reader will understand 
that we have here only attempted to give a partial out- 
line of this great controversy. To properly discuss the 
question a volume greater than this would have to be 
written . We trust, however, that sufficient has been sug- 
gested to. induce a candid consideration of the subject. 



Three things must concur in all matters relating to 
human endeavor before success can reasonably be antici- 
pated: First, a definite mental conception of the thing 
necessary to be done; second, a determination of the will 
that it shall be done ; and third, the careful selection and 
timely application of instrumentalities necessary to accom- 
plish the desired result. Indeed, in ordinary transactions, 
which relate to the daily wants and vicissitudes of the indi- 
vidual and the family, we are all conscious of this three- 
fold process in our minds. 

If it were possible for this triumvirate of concept, will 
and action to be withdrawn for a single day in any com- 
munity, chaos would ensue as quickly as darkness would 
follow the blotting out of the sun. The same result would 
follow, if by the force of our will, or the lack of its exer- 
cise, the functions of any one member of this trinity should 
be suspended in their operation. 

Tins explains the cause and discloses the source of the 
present chaotic condition of politics in our Republic. Most 
men make a stagger at business, not knowing exactly what 
they want even in this, and then transfer all matters per- 
taining to Government to the charlatans and the bosses. 
The rightful and proper rulers of the country are generally 
asleep, and the butler is dispensing the hospitalities of the 
mansion to the thieves and vagabonds in the pantry. The 


proprietor hears them and the servant comes to the door 
and tells him not to be disturbed but to sleep on and he 
will call him at the proper time. 

It has been the constant custom, for a full quarter of a 
century, for the people of this country to biennially elect 
a Congress, and quadrennially an entire administration, 
without an}' reference whatever to what is necessary to be 
done. When this result has been accomplished, the people 
all fall to wondering what Congress is going to do! Hav- 
ing no conception of what should be done ourselves and 
hence no determination that it shall be done, it is of course 
hard for us to understand that there is any intention in 
that august body to do anything whatever. In fact we 
seem to realize that they were not elected to do anything 
and are disturbed when we contemplate even the possi- 
bility that we may be disappointed. 

Then, there is our President whom we have just elected. 
How does he stand apon the important questions of land, 
money, transportation and labor? We know nothing about 
it; and now that he is really elected we would like to 
become acquainted with his views. Only one thing, how- 
ever, is certain: The president-elect was in favor of the 
last war ! 

Thus it is demonstrated that we did not know what we 
wanted nor what we were voting for when we cast our 
ballots. The candidates elected were supported, not be- 
cause it was definitely known that they were in favor of 
anything in particular, but simply because we thought, at 
the time, that we could prevent the other crowd from get- 
ting the offices and could secure them for a few manipu- 
lators who happened to belong to our side. The fact that 
the spirit of inquiry, as to how their public servants stand, 
always manifests itself after the election instead of before, 
affords positive proof that the people were conscious that 


they were taking a leap in the dark when they voted, and 
had serious doubts at the time, as to whether they were 
doing right or wrong. It is the annual repetition of this 
frightful popular abuse which fills even the aimless leaders 
of the aimless parties of the period with contempt for the 
great mass of voters. We should all understand that it is 
the resolute man of purpose who is always feared. The 
scoundrels in politics do not care a single groat for any 
other type of man. 

Did anybody ever have any doubts about the policy of 
General Jackson's or Abraham Lincoln's administrations? 
They were chosen to do something. After their elevation 
to office public inquiry was directed simply to the details 
of the contemplated legislation. Everj^body knew the 
character of the measures which were to be brought for- 
ward and the general spirit and purposes of the Admin- 
istration. Hence, the 


for which all should labor, is the election of a National 
ticket and Congress pledged to a platform formulated by 
the industrial organizations themselves, and which shall 
substantially and clearly set forth the reforms desired. 
No person who is both candid and intelligent will pretend 
that such a result can be secured except through the instru- 
mentality of a united vote of all who desire the specified 
reforms, cast for the same ticket at the same time. This 
will give to the movement an open and controlling mission, 
and to the Administration, when elected, a definite pur- 
pose. Neither can these ends be accomplished through 
the instrumentality of parties which have no test of 
membership. If they are void of such test they have 
no purpose and can accomplish nothing of importance 
for the world. But if the voter has a vague conception 


of what is needful and has no purpose or will to demand 
needed reforms, he is quite certain to make a mistake when 
he comes to handle political machinery. Such tools are 
dangerous in the hands of thoughtless men. 

Again, having determined the controlling or basic prin- 
ciple which we wish to have enacted into law, we should 
rest content with its plain and candid enunciation until a 
Congress is secured whose duty it shall be to grapple with 
the details of the system. 

The beautiful Declaration of our fathers, that "All men 
are created equal and endowed by their Creator with cer- 
tain inalienable rights, among which are life, liberty, and 
the pursuit of happiness; and to secure these ends Govern- 
ments are instituted among men, deriving their just 
powers from the consent of the governed," is the most 
wonderful political enunciation in any language; and yet 
it is absolutely free from every manner of detail. Had the 
wise heads of that period undertaken to specify the details 
of legislation necessary to make their Declaration effec- 
tive when the mother country should be overthrown, it 
would have been impossible for them ever to have agreed. 
The Declaration probably would never have been issued, 
and it is certain that the Constitution would never have 
been framed. Hence, from this view of the situation, we 
rejoice to know that the tendency among reformers, during 
the half dozen years last past, is to drop details and content 
themselves with clear statements of the underlying prin- 
ciples to be attained. It is said concerning a dilemma not 
unlike that of which we are speaking, that the children of 
mammon were wiser in their day than the children of light. 
The plutocratic leaders are too long-headed to disclose the 
details of their plans. They keep them concealed. If they 
did not they could never accomplish anything. An exper- 
ienced hunter never sends out his heralds to notify the 


coveted stag that he wants his saddle for a Christmas festi- 
val. If he did the fleet-footed ranger would be off to other 
pastures. Is this deception? Most certainly not. It is 
simply the exercise in public affairs of that ordinary caution 
which we properly apply in every day life. Let your main 
declaration of purpose be plain, sincere and unequivocal 
and then leave to the legislator the consideration of details 
when it is made his duty to do so. 


For a more specific statement of the remedies necessary 
to start our dissipated civilization upon its return to health, 
we are forced for want of space to refer the reader to the 
several chapters of this book where he will find the reme- 
dial features of the controversy as fully discussed as the 
limits of this volume would permit. We will suggest in 
conclusion, however, that the great object of the Industrial 
movement now challenging public attention, is to restore to 
Congress its Constitutional and exclusive control over the 
great limbs of commerce, money, transportation and teleg- 
raphy; and to devise such an equitable system of land-holding 
as shall enable the people to secure homes without interfer- 
ing with vested rights already acquired. These great facili- 
ties, so essential to life, prosperity and happiness have been 
wrenched from the people and passed to the control of 
monopolists. To reclaim them is the great duty of the 
hour. The Ocala platform points out the way in which it 
can be done. For a generation the great object lessons of 
current business life have impressed the world with the 
idea that the laborer was the subject of monopoly by birth, 
and that he had no rights which those institutions are 
bound to respect. This assumption of power is passing 
away. The doctrine of the "divine right of kings" is a 
fiction addressed 'to the superstition of mankind to justify 


usurpation. The "prerogatives of the crown " consist of 
the raped liberties of the people. The doctrine of hered 
itary titles is of the same nature and was invented to cir- 
cumvent popular disfavor. And so of all the pretentions 
of the Trusts and corporate barons of the period. But at 
last that liberty-giving conception, that the people have 
some divine and hereditary rights which governments are 
organized to secure, has dawned upon the world and we 
welcome its light. 

We can not refrain from closing this chapter by quoting 
the following sterling and rugged letter from the late Ben- 
jamin F. Wade. It has so much of the fire of the 60's in 
it, and is so characteristic of the integrity of its author, that 
the readers of this volume will be glad to accord it the nec- 
essary room. 

Vice-President's Chamber, ) 
Washington, D. C, December 13, 1867. S 
Yours of the 8th inst. is received, and I most cordially agree with 
every word and sentence of it. I am for the laboring portion of 
our people. The rich can take care of themselves. While 1 must 
scrupulously live up to all the contracts of the Government, and 
fight repudiation to the death, I will fight the bond holder as reso- 
lutely when he undertakes to get more than the pound of flesh. We 
never agreed to pay the 5-20's in gold; no man can find it in the bond, 
and I never will consent to have one payment for the bond holders 
and another for the people. It would sink any party, and it ought 
to. To talk of specie payments or a return to specie under present 
circumstances, is to talk like a fool. It would destroy the country 
as effectualty as a fire, and any contraction of the currency at this 
time is about as bad. But I have not time to give my ideas in full. 

Yours truly, 

Benjamin F. Wade. 
Captain A. Denny, Eaton, Ohio. 



The financial storm which opened upon this country in 
the autumn of 1873, quickly expanded into a tempest 
which swept with fury every section of the Union. It was 
accompanied by strange phenomena which temporarily 
baffled the wisest heads in the land. Unlike former catas- 
trophes of the kind the confidence of the people in their 
currency remained unshaken from first to last. If a man 
could command either form of our currency he felt secure 
from disaster. The paper money was the mountain summit 
which bid defiance to the floods, while the productive in- 
dustries were the low-lands submerged and swept by the 
raging torrent. In all former panics the currency was first 
to give way — the first reed that was broken. 

The prolonged stay of this calamity led to wide-spread 
investigation as to its causes, which happily resulted in a 
general revival of economic learning. Men began to in- 
quire anew into systems and to dig down to the very bed- 
rock of democratic institutions. Fortunately, they had the 
lamp of their own personal experience to guide them, and 
a whole generation of living men and women as their wit- 
nesses. Upon examination the} r ascertained exactly where 
the black plague had started and who were responsible for 
its inoculation. 

A protracted period of educational effort followed and 
for years it ebbed and flowed like the tides. It was an ex- 


pensive school but it graduated strong men and sent them 
forth by the hundred equipped for the controversy destined 
to follow. 

Truth is a marvelous weapon; it transforms itself into a 
thousand shapes, but it is always the truth. 

Sometimes it is keen and lithe like a Damascus blade 
and again heavy, blunt and jagged like a savage battle-ax 
of the medieval age. This wonderful agency has done its 
work during the nineteen years just passed. The farmers 
through their Grange movement led the way. Then fol- 
lowed the Peter Cooper movement led by the purest 
philanthropist of the times, and represented upon the 
hustings by one of the most brilliant, powerful and persua- 
sive orators which this country has ever produced, Gen. 
Samuel F. Cary, of Ohio. Succeeding this came the Union 
Labor party, and now the united movement of all the 
industrial forces of the continent. Through all this period 
those who have administered public affairs — presidents 
and cabinets, law-makers and parties — have unwittingly 
wrought in unison with the patient efforts of self-sacrificing 
philanthropists to unerringly demonstrate, in a variety of 
ways, that all of the accusations which had been made 
against them and against existing leadership, were abso- 
lutely true and that no good thing could be expected of 

We have also had the contrasts of bountiful harvests 
accompanied by ever-existing destitution; of penury fol- 
lowing close upon the track of industry; of vast armies of 
homeless tramps ever wandering alongside of vacant land 
held for speculation; of employers building palaces in for- 
eign lands out of profits filched from toil, and labor forced 
into the maelstrom of strikes, riots and lock-outs; of armed 
mercenaries usurping the place of regular police; of cor- 
porations crowding the individual to the wall and tramp- 


ling the poor into the dust; of one-half of every city set 
apart for the abode of Lazzaroni and the other for the 
sumptuous palaces of the rich and powerful. Such thiDgs 
— such aggravating contrasts have aided to convince the 
judgment and ripen the convictions of millions of honest 
men and women dwelling in every section of the Union. 
Of one accord they have risen up, pledged fidelity to one 
another and sworn that these things shall cease. Nor is 
this the result of the hasty ebullition of passion. It is 
the outcome of sober conviction based upon thorough 
investigation and verified by personal experience. It is 
sanctified by the convictions of justice and the promptings 
of charitj'. It has passed the point of experimental en- 
deavor and reached the plane of lofty resolve where the 
Golden Rule becomes the law of the conscience and where 
personal sacrifice is welcomed as a boon. 

Such is the character — such the interpretation of this 
mighty movement. It bodes no ill to our country or to man" 
kind. Its mission is one of justice and peace. It is the re- 
ligion of the Master in motion among men and is prompted 
by charity for all and malice toward none. It is the eagle 
tempered with the dove — the paw of the Lion of the tribe 
of Judah interposed to raise our prostrate industries from 
the dust. It proposes to hail and salute the advent of the 
twentieth century with the glad songs of emancipated la- 
bor and to present the world with an illuminated copy of our 
glorious Declaration of Independence enacted into law and 
reduced to practice in the daily life of the Republic. 



The American people have entered upon the mightiest 
civic struggle known to their history. Many of the giant 
wrong3 which they are seeking to overthrow are as old as 
the race of man and are rock-rooted in the ignorant preju- 
dices and controlling customs of every nation in Christen- 
dom. We must expect to be confronted by a vast and 
splendidly equipped army of extortionists, usurers and op- 
pressors marshalled from every nation under heaven. Every 
instrumentality known to man, — the state with its civic 
authority, learning with its lighted torch, armies with their 
commissions to take life, instruments of commerce essential 
to commercial intercourse, and the very soil upon which we 
live, move and have our being — all these things and more, 
are being perverted and used to enslave and impoverish 
the people. The Golden Rule is rejected by the heads of 
all the great departments of trade, and the law of Cain, 
which repudiates the obligations that we are mutually 
under to one another, is fostered and made the rule of ac- 
tion throughout the world. Corporate feudality has taken 
the place of chattle slavery and vaunts its power in every 

The light of past civilization is shining full upon us 
all, and knowing that cause and effect follow closely upon 
each other, we believe that we fairly discern the outlines 
of the main events which the near future has in store for 



the American people. We do not claim to see clearly all 
the concomitant phenomena destined to follow the social 
earthquake just at hand. Such prevision is not accorded 
to man. But of this much we are certain: In their flight 
from their task masters the people have about reached the 
Red Sea. We can not retreat. Either the floods will be 
parted for us and close, as of old, upon our pursurers, or a 
life and death struggle will ensue between oppressors and 
oppressed — between those '■Vho would destroy and enslave 
and those who are seeking ro enter into the inheritance pre- 
pared for them by a beneficent Father. Our danger lurks 
in the alternative stated. It behooves every man who 
desires a peaceful solution of our ever increasing complica- 
tions to do all in his power to make the deliverance peace- 
ful and humane. To further postpone the controversy is 
to invite chaos and challenge the arbitrament of the sword. 
Our past experience should be sufficient to warn us to steer 
clear of this abyss of peril and the hell of war. 

All the Nations of antiquity were scourged exactly as our 
people are now being scourged. They were afflicted, they 
conplained, rebelled and perished — oppressors and 
oppressed together. Their innate sense of justice enabled 
them to discern clearly between right and wrong, but their 
passion for revenge and thirst for blood made it impossible 
for the people to retain power even when the fortunes of 
war had placed it in their hand& \ 

But thanks to the all- conquering strength of Christian 
enlightenment we are at the dawn of the golden age of 
popular power. We have unshaken faith in the integrity 
and final triumph of the people. But their march to power 
will not be unobstructed. The universal uprising of the 
industrial forces will result in unifying the monopolistic 
and plutocratic elements also, and through the business 
and social influences of these potential and awakened 


forces, thousands of well-meaning professional and busi- 
ness men of all classes will be induced, for a time, to make 
common cause against us. This makes it necessary for 
the friends of reform to put forth herculean efforts to dis- 
abuse the minds of well-meaning people concerning the 
underlying objects of the movement, and this calls for sys- 
tematic, energetic, and constant educational work, cover- 
ing the whole range of the reforms proposed. It is also 
the surest method of overcoming the obstacle of indiffer- 
ence among the people. 

We must also be prepared to see the two well-organized 
and equipped political parties march to the assistance of 
each other at critical points along the line. The leaders 
will spare no effort to accomplish this end. Two influences, 
now at work, are ample to at least partially precipitate 
this result — the use of money and the community of dan- 
ger inspired by the appearance of the new political force. 
The great mass of voters should be faithfully warned of this 
danger before designing leaders have made the attempt 
to mislead them. In this manner the evil consequences 
of their efforts can be largely averted. 


If the economic revolution now in progress in the United 
States is not speedily successful, the industrial people will 
have no one to blame but themselves. Through suffering 
and research they have learned the causes of their distress. 
They have organized, decided upon remedies and made 
known their demands. They have the numbers to make 
their wishes effective. The Constitution and laws of the 
country place the whole matter within their hands. The 
great initial battles have been fought in the Courts and 
this constitutes their Gibraltar and impregnable vantage 


ground. Nothing is now needed but a proper use of the 

If the friends of reform will make one united and fearless 
effort the victory will be won. Fidelity to truth, to home, 
to family and to the brotherhood of purpose is all that is 
required. Capital possesses one thing which labor does not 
— ready cash. They will not hesitate to make the best 
possible use of it. But labor possesses that which capital 
does not — numbers. They should be made effective. Will 
they longer refuse to make use of the peaceful weapon 
which their fathers placed in their hands ? If we will not 
with courage and conscience choose the methods of peace, 
the sword is inevitable. Persistent oppression on the one 
hand and neglect to make proper use of the ballot on the 
other, in the very nature of things, call for the application 
of force as the only solution. Avenging armies always 
follow close upon the heels of legalized injustice. If we 
would escape the sword we must at once conquer through 
the power of truth and through knowledge incarnated and 
set in motion. 

Let us all remember that the various organizations, now 
so powerful, cannot always be maintained. They will 
decay with time and fall to pieces from lack of purpose or 
the discouragements of defeat. Our enemies well under- 
stand this and are urging procrastination and pleading for 
time. As well might the general of an army send a bearer 
of dispatches, under a flag of truce, to ask the commander 
of the opposing forces when he would like to have the 
engagement brought on. If the general consulted were 
weak in numbers he would decide to postpone the battle 
until such time as the forces of his adversary could be 
wasted by death, disease and desertion. 



We have challenged the adversary to battle and our 
bugles have sounded the march. If we now seek to 
evade or shrink from the conflict it will amount to a con- 
fession of cowardice and a renunciation of the faith. 
Let us make the year 1892 memorable for all time to come 
as the period when the great battle for industrial emanci- 
pation was fought and won in the United States. It is 
glorious to live in this age, and to be . permitted to take 
part in this heroic combat is the greatest honor that can be 
conferred upon mortals. It is an opportunity for every 
man, however humble, to strike a blow that will perman- 
ently benefit his race and make the world better for his 
having lived. Throughout all history we have had ample 
evidence that the new world is the theater upon which the 
great struggle for the rights of man is to be made, and 
the righteous movement now in progress should again 
forcibly remind us of our enviable mission, under Provi- 
dence, among the nations of the earth* 

University of British Columbia Library 




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